NBN unveils uncapped data plan for remote Australia

Following a successful trial to examine delivery of an improved satellite service, including the capability to achieve faster burst speeds of up to 100Mbps, an uncapped usage plan has been launched to address data needs of rural Australia

More than 400,000 homes and small businesses across Australia can now access a new satellite data plan from NBN Co as part of the country’s national broadband network (nbn), which provides access to uncapped data usage to meet the growing data demands of regional, rural and remote communities.

The nbn is seen as the digital backbone of Australia and is designed to evolve constantly to keep communities and businesses connected.

NBN Co was established in 2009 by the Commonwealth of Australia as a government business enterprise with a clear direction: to design, build and operate a wholesale broadband access network for Australia. It uses a mix of technologies across its network, and fixed wireless access (FWA) currently covers almost 650,000 premises across Australia. By the end of 2024, the company expects to see up to 120,000 homes and businesses in its satellite footprint gain FWA access for the first time.

In 2022, the NBN Co received government funding to 5G-enable fixed wireless, deliver faster speeds to regional Australia and allow the company to implement a new measure to indicate the network’s capability to achieve a typical wholesale busy-period fixed download speed of at least 50Mbps.

The purpose of the NBN Co is to raise digital capability by delivering reliable, fast, resilient and secure broadband over the wholesale access network, working collaboratively with internet retailers to deliver the required customer experience, reduce cost, and drive industry efficiency and sustainability.

The new plan, nbn Sky Muster Plus Premium, is described as the latest step in the evolution of the nbn satellite network and adds to the suite of existing nbn Sky Muster Plus plans. Key features of the new plan include uncapped data usage, freeing broadband users from having to manage a monthly data usage allowance.

In what is said to be a first, the 25/5Mbps wholesale plan can offer burst download speeds of up to 100Mbps, enabling users to enjoy higher-quality online experiences, providing particular support for home working. Furthermore, NBN Co said lower NBN wholesale pricing makes the plan more accessible to people in regional and rural Australia.

The launch follows a successful trial involving over 10,700 participants, where NBN Co tested the network’s capabilities to ensure delivery of this improved service. During the trial, the network remained robust despite a significant increase in data usage during peak times, showcasing the desire for more data. Customer feedback is also said to have indicated positive shifts in sentiment, particularly regarding improvements in data allowance throughout, especially during peak usage periods.

“With the rapid growth in data usage, people live their digital lives with more connected devices for remote work, online learning, social media, e-commerce and entertainment. Homes and small businesses in remote areas require access to more data to help cater for their needs,” said NBN Co’s chief development officer for regional and remote, Gavin Williams.

“We are excited to launch nbn Sky Muster Plus Premium as the next step in the natural evolution of the nbn satellite network, offering even more connectivity options for homes and businesses in regional and rural Australia. The nbn Sky Muster satellite service is a vital part of the nbn and connects remote parts of our country. This new plan will help more people thrive in the digital age like never before. Not having to worry about a monthly data allowance offers more flexibility in how and when people use their internet, and more time to do the things that matter most.” 

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