Bad news for many regional customers on NBN's fixed wireless network, with NBN Co announcing on Thursday night that they have killed off 100 megabit per second speeds to their fixed wireless network, citing a lack of "mass-market demand" and "the economics".
According to the report by the ABC, NBN Co boss Bill Morrow suggested during Senate Estimates that "there's not mass-market demand for 100Mbps services" and "no economic model that would work" for the service. On top of that he also suggested that "it's hard to find applications that warrant the need for 100Mbps" and that it would be difficult to maintain 100Mbps during peak usage times.
The new policy is an about-turn from last year, when NBN Co increased the download and upload speeds on fixed wireless from 50/20 to 100/40, even demonstrating that the network equipment could perform in a test at a Ballarat primary school and suggesting that greater speeds may be achievable in the future. Additionally, in January, they suggested 50% of all fixed wireless users would have access to the 100/40 speed tier and Peter Wells wrote in March this year about fixed wireless customers in Melbourne making the switch, achieving those top speeds.
NBN Co had originally slated around 300,000 fixed wireless premises for maximum speeds and taking a look at the rollout map, this change in policy is likely to hit regional and rural NBN customers the worst. The majority of services within major urban centres are all fixed line connections.
Though there may currently be a lack of applications requiring 100Mbps, that doesn't mean in two, three, five years time we won't all be wanting those types of speeds. You only need to look as far as NBN Cos reports to see that more people are opting for higher speed tiers, as ISPs deliver them at better prices and with greater reliability.
One caveat: NBN Co is trialling the new 5G broadband technology, which may come as some relief for the fixed wirless customers who were expecting top speeds on the new network. That technology seems to be just around the corner.
If you're not already aware, The National Broadband Network, a system designed to bring Australia's internet up to speed with the rest of the world allowing hitherto unseen speeds and capabilities, will let you know when you're premises are ready to connect via the post.