Nokia to deploy FWA mmWave on Australian NBN

Nokia won a deal to supply mmWave fixed wireless access (FWA) technology for Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN), a deployment designed to help meet the service’s stringent capacity and throughput requirements.

The Finnish vendor stated NBN Co, which operates the nationwide network, had selected it to supply 5G FWA mmWave Customer Premise Equipment (CPE) to upgrade the Australian infrastructure to deliver faster speeds to thousands of homes and business across semi-rural, regional and remote areas.

By supporting high-frequency mmWave bands, NBN can supply Gigabit data rates from premises within a 7km radius of a base station. Nokia added a high-gain antenna gives a total range of up to 10km

The NBN uses a mix of technologies, with FWA currently covering almost 650,000 premises across Australia. The update will extend the existing footprint by up to 50 per cent, enabling approximately 120,000 former satellite-only eligible premises access to FWA for the first time.

Furthermore, it will enable use of the 28GHz band and unlock access to high-speed tiers of 100Mb/s and 250Mb/s.

Devices used to enable Nokia’s mmWave technology will be funded as part of NBN’s Fixed Wireless and Satellite Upgrade programme, a AUD750 million ($473 million) investment in the network, including almost AUD500 million from the Australian government.

Jason Ashton, executive GM for fixed wireless and satellite at NBN Co, stated mmWave was necessary due to “a step-change in demand for broadband in rural and regional areas, with an estimated 300 per cent increase in demand for data on FWA over the next ten years”.