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NBN fixed wireless


I rely on NBN fixed wireless, so this hits close to home.

NBN Co considers a cell to be officially congested when its “30 day … average busy hour download throughput [falls] below … 6Mbps" per user.

In view of the impact of RSP provisioning on performance for the end-user, I wonder how they measure that? Note that it’s an average, so an individual service could be consistently slower than 6 Mb/s.

But it can be really fast:

According to NBN corporate public affairs manager Tony Brown, only 20 percent of NBN’s fixed-wireless towers are connected by fibre, meaning the 1Gbps speeds would only be available for a fraction of fixed-wireless users – those with fibre-connected towers, and with 11 carriers available in both the 3.4GHz and 2.3GHz spectrum bands.

With the world moving toward 10 Gb/s services, how long will it be before Australia hits a wall?


Should be a great topic and resource @n3m0 for those on or about to be connected to FW.

The NBN Co holds it’s performance data close to it’s chest. There are so many ways to present stats and skew results or avoid difficult questions. It does not share the source data, or offer even summary stats by tower or location. It’s about more than just congestion, it is also about the maximum reliable connection speed at each premise for each tower site. It’s also as mentioned about the limited backhaul due to the cost cutting microwave links used for most towers, and so much else.

I read one report that suggested personal data consumption in Australia has gone up ten fold over the past 5 years. For FW, and also Satellite it would be more than essential for the community to be told just how close both services are to capacity, The NBN may talk about future technology, however after 6 years they are still another two from finishing even the current plan. It seems an unlikely outcome that FW will be any further improved in 5 years time if the substantial financial commitments needed to deliver this work are not already in place.


A little more grist for the mill:

Under the design rules:

  • the 2017 iteration allowed for “up to” 2640 premises to share “up to” 900 Mb/s;
  • the 2018 iteration changed that to the same number of premises (or maybe less, depending on interpretation), sharing “up to” 4Gb/s. but;
  1. the design rules document is inconsistent and open to interpretation;
  2. the fixed wireless network is largely complete and
  3. the new rules are not retrospective.

Links to current and archived NBN design rules documents can be found here:


You have to wonder what the real facts from the NBN Co are when reading the following from the linked IT News item, July 2018.

NBN Co said this week that 99.92 percent of premises outside major urban areas are either in design, under construction or complete. That means the vast majority of the fixed wireless network has been deployed. - end of quote.

How the term “In Design” could ever mean in an Engineering Sense “ Network Deployed” does Hansard hold the answer?

‘Nearly Finished’ or ‘yes, we are up to finishing that one’ are similar but more openly evasive routine project responses?

I could suggest that 0.08% is only one tower remaining if there are 1200 tower sites planned for FW. I have not yet found a source that adds them all up?

To allay fears about any ambiguity in how to read the NBN press release from last year.

Per the NBN Co 2019-2022 Business Plan there will only ever be 600,000 premises serviced by NBN FW. Might be rounded to the nearest?

Per the NBN Co weekly progress report (03 Jan 2019) fixed wireless reports 633,395 premises Ready to Connect. That’s premises with an active service available if I read the data correct? Just needs a receiver and modem install at the premises to complete connection when the owner elects?

By fact the NBN Co reported at the end of June 2018 last year FW Ready to Connect covered 609,000 premises! Per the July press release it would leave (0.08%) or only 500 premises nation wide without the promised FW available?

However another 24,000 have been added since then? So Ready to Connect must have a different meaning to the literal one? :upside_down_face:

Which data is reliable?
Which stats are correct?
Who is being honest here?

It would aid transparency to know just how many FW sites are currently not active or providing full service, and exactly how many premises are genuinely unable to connect? :rage:
IE How much left to complete the FW solution?

That’s a minor aside perhaps to having better information on the actual backhaul capacity vs demands for each site? :wink:

P.S. There have been various predictions going back over 24 months FW would be stretched to more than 700,000+ premises? Alternately are those in the never never land heading for an alternate solution?


Most FW NBN customers live outside the cities i.e. in the country. These folks lived in the dark ages in relation to internet and mobile services for so long that most would have welcomed the change to FW. Country people are normally easy to please but they do not like to be fooled with statements that all’s well or as good as can be.
We feel the congestion every weekend especially on long weekends when the download speed often goes down near nothing but who are we to complain as we know that it will be better again in a day or so (thanks NBN Co!). Look at other countries, often 3rd world countries, that have better internet and mobile services than Australia (thanks Australian Government!).


Speaking as one of them, country people are none too pleased that Telstra neglects copper 'phone lines. We were told that they’re too expensive to maintain. Telstra gets (IIRC) $300 million per annum for the Universal Service Obligation. That was one of the carrots John Howard dangled to get agreement to privatise the network. We really should take it back (and I do mean “take”).


FW is being provided a lot in non Rural locations as the FTTN service can be “too difficult” to provide when on certain copper circuits they are too far from the node to maintain 25/5. Mr Morrow acknowledged this back in 2017. FTTC was the next fix to be trotted out to help address this and also to plug the hemorrhage that is HFC services.

Even Satellite has been acknowledged as a service that is too commonly used to fill gaps so that they don’t need tp address FTTN, HFC and FW failures/lack of service/poor service.


Not surprising. What government often dresses up as support, the recipient sees and accepts as a donation. Since government never reminds them of the support/donation purpose, it remains a donation. Does that ring true with your observation?


I gave up in disgust, years ago, but that’s about right. Telstra accepts our funding and avoids doing what they’re being funded to do. For me, the last straw was when Telstra’s excuse for not maintaining a certain line was that it wasn’t “commercially viable”. Why the :face_with_symbols_over_mouth: do they think they’re being paid?

Telecommunications is a vital service. If the private sector (Telstra) will only bother with the profitable bits, then we (the people) should take it all back. I gather that we can’t just do that. The Constitution says something about due compensation. I’m sure that, with a little creative accounting (offsetting the damage they’ve done against the value of the network), we could end up presenting them with a bill in place of compensation.

Privatisation or government ownership - what's best for the people?

13 posts were split to a new topic: Privatisation or government ownership of NBN and telecommunications - what’s best?