Vodafone First Telco to Use NBN Cell Site Access

March 27, 2017

A certain Telco has signed a deal to provide coverage in mobile black spots in Australia, according to Computerworld.


Telco company Vodafone has already signed the first deal to the National Broadband Network (NBN) in order to use the Cell Site Access Service (CSAS) product, which is the use of NBN infrastructure to expand mobile coverage.


Vodafone will be using the new NBN service to provide a mobile signal in Molong, NSW. The process has already begun with the Telco company already installing extra antennas on an NBN tower, which is commonly used to provide the network wholesaler’s fixed wireless service in the area. In regards to voice and data, these will go through the NBN’s Dubbo Point of Interconnection towards Vodafone.


The expansion of mobile coverage in Molong, NSW is a part of the federal government mobile black spot program, which is known to help support the mobile infrastructure of Telcos in areas that are experiencing a lack of service.


Vodafone has pushed for a long time to let Telcos have access in using the NBN infrastructure. Currently, Telstra’s cellular network has the most area of coverage compared to other networks in the country. However, an Optus spokesperson said that the company has no plans of using it as of the moment.


“Optus has made significant investment to expand its regional mobile network footprint to deliver more choice to regional areas,” the spokesperson said. “We take a wide range of factors into consideration when planning mobile network expansion, including population movement and growth, increasing mobile traffic, and trends.”


On the other hand, a Telstra spokesperson said that “at this stage Telstra has not utilised the NBN backhaul service however we will continue to evaluate it as required.” The spokesperson emphasised that the company has established 90 base stations that are part of the company’s 429 base sites, in which have received funding from the government’s black spot program.


“Australia has an open and competitive mobile market. Regulations have always mandated that competitors have access to one another’s mobile towers for collocation of equipment and use of backhaul links,” the spokesperson said.


“In fact, the ACCC [Australian Competition and Consumer Commission] recently reduced the regulated price of backhaul by 72% in regional areas because competition has been driving prices down,” the spokesperson added. “Encouraging competition and ongoing investment is the best way to ensure that customers in regional areas continue to benefit from mobile network improvements.”


CSAS was already included in the NBN’s roadmap since late 2013.


“The good thing about this is not just that we are helping to deliver a new service for end-users but also that we offering customers new products to help them extend their portfolio and spread their networks,” John Simon, NBN’s chief customer officer, said in a statement.


CSAS can also be used by mobile network operators to provide small cell coverage or as a part of a Wi-Fi rollout.