News

NBN to use Ericsson fixed wireless to expand broadband coverage

Jason Ashton NBN.jpg

Australia’s state-owned wholesale broadband network has turned to Ericsson to expand reach with fixed wireless access (FWA) technology.

NBN Co, which runs the National Broadband Network to serve all last-mile fixed services, says its ten-year partnership will cover 4G and 5G wireless.

Jason Ashton (pictured), NBN executive general manager for fixed wireless and satellite, said: “Investing in 5G mmWave is a part of our commitment to evolve the NBN fixed wireless network for future needs and continually enhance customer experience. … Our work with Ericsson will help us push the boundaries of its capabilities to the benefit of the more than one million homes and businesses covered by these networks across Australia.”

Ericsson’s kit will enable NBN Co to expand its fixed wireless network cell range from 14km to 29km – effectively a quadrupling in the possible area served.

Hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses will benefit by the end of 2024, said Ericsson, with NBN Co’s FWA footprint set to grow by up to 50% across Australia under the Ericsson partnership.

NBN Co is a publicly owned corporation of the Australian government, tasked to design, build and operate Australia's digital backbone as a wholesale broadband access network provider.

The deployment is a significant move in addressing the geographical challenge of bringing improved service to communities and businesses across Australia – one of the largest countries in the world with huge variations in population density.

FWA currently covers more than 650,000 premises across Australia, said Ericsson, which will supply the next-generation technology critical to 5G-enable many existing towers across NBN Co’s fixed wireless network.

Ashton said: “Our network is the digital backbone of Australia, and it is constantly evolving as we help keep communities, businesses and all areas of society connected, and our nation productive.”

The partnership sees Ericsson become the sole supplier of 4G and 5G radio access and microwave transport solutions. Deployed solutions will include Ericsson’s 4G and 5G antenna-integrated radios across NBN’s current and future spectrum bands, and the latest Massive MIMO solutions providing best-in-class performance and energy efficiency in a lightweight small footprint form factor.

Ashton added: “We’re committed to maximizing the performance of both our fixed wireless and satellite networks, and our work with Ericsson will help us push the boundaries of its capabilities to the benefit of the more than one million homes and businesses covered by these networks across Australia.”

Emilio Romeo, head of Ericsson Australia and New Zealand, said: “I’m pleased that Ericsson’s technology continues to play a pivotal role in supporting the programme to deliver better broadband services to people in regional Australia. With the extended range innovation showcased in Ericsson’s industry-leading radio access and microwave transport solutions, more Australians will have access to faster fixed wireless broadband in more places around the country.”