NBN Co quashes wireless block claims

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NBN Co quashes wireless block claims

Are future peak speeds tested?

NBN Co has moved to quash concerns that it would refuse homeowners a wireless connection if speed tests conducted at installation did not reach peak speeds of 25 Mbps.

The concerns were raised by Paul Rees, chief executive of internet service provider Skymesh, after "three or four" of his customers in the Armidale, NSW, wireless test site were refused connections, allegedly due to line of sight issues.

"The standard of installations has been very high, and the technicians have used masts of varying heights and have spent the time to get the best possible signal," he said on the Whirlpool user forum.

"The installers won't complete the installation if the signal isn't good enough to support a future Peak Information Rate of 25/5 Mbps."

The wireless portion of the network currently offers peaks speeds of 12 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps - the same as the base speed tier for fibre connections on the NBN.

Most users trialling the wireless network in Armidale have reported speeds nearing their peak.

NBN Co is planning to offer a 25/5 Mbps service over the wireless portion of the network in future but is yet to set down a specific timeframe for its availability.

But a NBN Co spokeswoman refuted suggestions that a homeowner would be refused an NBN wireless connection if speed tests did not meet the aspirational 25 Mbps downlink speed.

The spokeswoman said the company conducted signal strength tests at each home to determine if they could receive a basic 12/1 Mbps service over the wireless network.

A connection to the interim, 6 Mbps satellite service, and ultimately the long-term satellite connection, would be offered to to those who cannot receive a wireless connection.

The NBN Co spokeswoman said only one homeowner within the wireless footprint had been denied, without giving details.

Other service providers told iTnews of customers outside the initial footprint being denied upon application.

The wireless network, currently being built by Ericsson, is expected to reach the four percent of the Australian population not covered by the NBN's fibre footprint and not deemed rural enough for the satellite portion of the network, which will also deliver a 12/1 Mbps service when fully launched in 2015.

The 4G wireless network has been under tests in Armidale since April and has begun expanding to the other five stage one sites planned for construction this year.

A further 41,500 premises are expected to receive wireless connections over the coming years as NBN builds out the network.

NBN Co chief technology officer Gary McLaren has pointed to the company's intention to make any future higher speeds available to everyone in the wireless footprint when released.

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