NBN Sizing Up Select Fixed Wireless Areas for 5G

March 6, 2018

At least 650 fixed wireless sites have been registered by the National Broadband Network (NBN) to operate in. However, these wireless sites are now prized 5G spectrum, making complications on demands by Vodafone in making the spectrum be transferred for commercial mobile use.

According to iTnews, their investigation showed NBN Co was given first right to use 3.5GHz spectrum way back in 2014. The 3.5GHz spectrum is extremely valuable due to the auction results last year. NBN Co has the power to license the spectrum, making it 0.03 per MHz per member of the population ($/MHz/pop) in a specific area. However, at the present time, it is worth 64 times the mentioned price since 3.5GHz spectrum is seen as a favourable choice to harmonise with 5G services worldwide.

Vodafone has said the remaining sites should be transformed into 5G. The company said it has presented tons of proposals that say the spectrum should be cleared for reuse. One of their proposals is to transfer the wireless cells for it to work on adjacent bands “which are not primary candidates for 5G”. Another option was to make use of the auction proceeds and upgrade affected fixed wireless sites into fibre-to-the-node.

NBN Co CEO Bill Morrow responded to the suggestions last month, saying the proposals are “possibly” technically and economically feasible.

“There are so many things that are possible. It comes down to cost, the time to do so, and the disruption that it causes to the end users that are out there,” he said.

However the problem does not stop there as there can be more as the build progresses. NBN Co should be able to make an action on these wireless sites and making use of it. This can be a great step for them to redeem themselves in the recent mishaps it has experienced over the past few years.