NBN puts mobile tower backhaul on fast-track

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NBN puts mobile tower backhaul on fast-track

Commercial launch expected within months.

NBN is planning to expedite the commercial launch of backhaul services for mobile phone towers by up to nine months.

The network operator revealed in roadmap documents this week that commercial availability of its cell site access service would be moved up from Q4 2016 to March.

Similarly, trials of the service that were set to run until the end of this year have also been shifted forward to expire in March.

An NBN spokesperson declined to comment to iTnews on the reason for the fast-tracking of the trial end and commercial service launch.

Questions on the number of cell sites in the trial and in forward bookings from the new March commencement date also went unanswered.

NBN originally started trialling a backhaul service for mobile towers in January 2014, with trials meant to run only until May that year.

However, trials were extended several times over the course of the next year, with the most recent update pushing them out almost until 2017.

Vodafone was one of the staunchest advocates for NBN’s entry into the mobile backhaul space, and revealed itself as a tester of the trial service in mid-2014.

The telco has since signed a major deal with TPG to run dark fibre to and from around 3000 cell sites.

However, this covers only two-thirds of its cell site footprint, leaving the door open to additional value potentially being gained from securing alternate backhaul arrangements.

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