NBN Co primed for wireless callout

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NBN Co primed for wireless callout

Hopefuls form an orderly queue.

NBN Co is expected to request capability statements from wireless operators within a fortnight, with at least one hopeful believing more than the ‘last 10 percent' may yet be serviced by wireless rather than fibre.

A spokesman for NBN Co has been contacted for comment.

Microwave backhaul vendor Aviat Networks' director of corporate marketing Stuart Little said the company had "registered interest" with NBN Co and held some "initial discussions".

"We're certainly interested in whatever proportion ends up being wireless as opposed to fibre," Little said.

"I think [NBN Co] have the goal of using 90 percent fibre but whether or not they actually achieve that will be interesting.

"Fibre is not cheap to deploy. Sometimes when the economics become clear we may see a higher proportion of wireless [on the NBN], particularly with the emergence of WiMAX."

Broadcast Australia's director of business development Chris Jaeger believed improvements in wireless technologies, including LTE and WiMAX, would result in wireless being able to reach geographic areas it could not reach today.

He said Broadcast Australia's terrestrial wireless sites could be used as a potential vehicle to deliver 12 Mbps to at least seven percent of Australians in areas too remote for fibre connectivity.

"The issue for the Government is the cost and speed of the rollout," he said.

Jaeger said Broadcast Australia could opt to lease its 600-odd points of presence around the country to NBN Co or a telecommunications provider to build their own terrestrial wireless network.

Points of presence consisted of towers, power, backup and backhaul links.

Further, he said, Broadcast Australia may opt to "go up the food chain a bit" and build and operate either a Long Term Evolution (LTE or 4G) cellular data network or a WiMAX data network to offer operators on a wholesale basis.

"We certainly don't want to be a retail provider," he said.

NBN Co called for capability statements from satellite network operators and equipment providers almost two weeks ago. Optus had previously expressed interest in the satellite portion of the network.

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