NBN Co to deploy more fixed wireless cells to improve uplink speeds

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NBN Co to deploy more fixed wireless cells to improve uplink speeds

Pushes some users above 10Mbps for the first time in a while.

NBN Co is set to deploy more fixed wireless cells in areas of high demand to resolve problems with slow uplink speeds on the network.

The company confirmed that a two-phase program of work is underway, with the first phase using carrier aggregation, which combines frequency bands to boost bandwidth, set to conclude at the end of this month.

A second phase is then set to kick off, with NBN Co switching on more cells in areas where slow uplink speeds have been reported.

A Whirlpool post from late last month said that the new cells would be “dedicated to uploads only”, though iTnews understands it could also bring some improvement in downlink speeds as well.

Users in that thread reported that their upload speeds had suddenly increased to above 10Mbps - in some cases nearing 20Mbps - at the end of September.

An uplink speed cut was known about since mid-2018 when NBN Co unveiled plans to offer fixed wireless as a ‘best effort’ service with a tiering of up to 75/10Mbps.

Some retail service providers even pared back the uplink in advance of NBN Co making its network changes.

The uplink cuts were unpopular at the time, but even more so as they took effect, with many complaints filling online forums attached to retail service providers as well as on Facebook and Whirlpool.

“As we have previously flagged, we are continuing to develop and implement ways to further optimise the fixed wireless network to deliver faster speeds and greater capacity,” an NBN Co spokesperson told iTnews.

“This follows our investment last year of $800 million in fixed wireless optimisation and recent analysis showing very strong performance with average download speeds of around 60Mbps on a daily basis, and average download speeds during busy hours of around 43Mbps. 

“We have flagged significant additional investment in our fixed wireless network in our corporate plan 2021.”

NBN Co said in its corporate plan that the fixed wireless network “comprises some 2200 towers and approximately 13,000 cells providing coverage to approximately 250,000 square kilometres”.

The corporate plan does mention fixed wireless upgrades, but without going into any specifics.

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