NBN Co finally commercialises IoT connectivity

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NBN Co finally commercialises IoT connectivity

After starting traffic light trials back in 2017.

NBN Co has launched a commercial internet of things (IoT) service that will offer fixed-line connectivity for traffic management systems, ATMs and other devices.

The service is called ‘Network Extensions’ and covers things like “traffic signals, traffic cameras, roadside emergency points, rail boom gates, street light controllers, certain types of CCTV, stand-alone automatic teller machines, environmental sensors and public transport infrastructure,” NBN Co said.

Initially it will use fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) connections, but NBN Co said it is exploring the use of other access technologies.

The network builder first disclosed plans to offer IoT connectivity back in late 2016 at the Broadband World Forum in London.

At that time, it was novel, not least because it represented an early piece of scope creep in NBN Co’s government-mandated remit.

The company started technical trials on traffic lights in April 2017, and had suggested at the time it could commercialise an IoT connectivity product in the same year.

It appears, however, that the company may have run into problems launching the product at a time when a large portion of the residential network was still unfinished.

That situation has now changed, with the end of the residential build in sight, and with other areas of scope creep - into the enterprise and government space, for example - bedded down, potentially making it simpler to launch other non-residential services.

It is also understood that because some of the target assets were critical infrastructure, NBN Co took extra time to ensure the service worked as expected.

NBN Co said today that the 2017 traffic management trial helped “establish the technical requirements, processes and delivery capability to support complex non-premises infrastructure systems.”

“As we reach the final stages of the NBN access network rollout, Network Extensions highlights how NBN Co is moving to address the needs of different customers to connect and help to lift their digital capability,” CTO Ray Owen said in a statement.

“This is a market segment characterised by a wide variety of specialised devices and complex services connected by a range of aging networks and technologies. 

“By bringing this infrastructure onto the NBN access network , operators have significant potential to simplify their operations and explore new innovation opportunities made possible by high-speed broadband and the emerging world of the IoT.”

The IoT connectivity market, of course, has also significantly changed since NBN Co first floated its intention to move, with multiple cellular and narrowband (NB-IoT) wireless networks and options now available.

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