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5G to surpass NBN’s decade long pursuit?

5G to surpass NBN’s decade long pursuit?

As customers tire of waiting for NBN services to deliver award winning connectivity, Telcos come through with high speed 5G network

7th March 2018
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Nearly a decade ago, the then Labor government outlined the first plans for the NBN Network; a government broadband initiative that planned for all homes across Australia to be connected by a network of fibre optics. It was projected to create a more reliable broadband service, with higher Internet speeds and improved data connections to ultimately benefit consumers.

Promising ‘world class Internet,’ there is concerns the NBN will be surpassed by newer technologies and outdated before it has even finished being rolled out. The threat of the 5G network from telecommunication providers is imminent with Optus and Telstra both announcing they will be delivering advanced wireless options in 2019. Reports indicating the final outlay of the NBN may still not be completed by 2020 and the delay may cost it severely.

10 years on – Can the Telcos take over ?

Initially, the NBN was outlined to connect 90 per cent of Australians with up to 100 Mbps (megabits per second). To put that in comparison, currently mobile networks do around 20 Mbps. The expected roll out of this 5G network will have a substantial effect, even 10-15% population switching to 5G networks will crunch revenue.

Recent reports from have also indicated that ‘fibre to the node’ (FTTN) i.e copper wiring and then fibre, have a restricted lifespan and limitations. Authorised by the government in 2016 as a more affordable option, hindsight reflects FTTN will struggle to meet Australian’s broadband requirements over the next decade, whereas ‘fibre to the premises’ (FTTP) was the more suitable but underused long term solution.

The delay of the NBN and technology offered by FTTN renders many NBN services obsolete at the point of delivery. If the NBN had decided on cutting edge FTTP initially, it may have competed but the poor quality of internet connection offered may make it easy for customers to choose the improved 5G network when deciding between the two. By 2020 it is expected that mobile networks will be offering 200GB plans with 1 Gbps connection speeds for prices similar to what the NBN prices now for much less return.

The ACCC gets involved

After an overwhelming backlog of customer complaints by the end of 2017 towards the NBN’s installation and service concerns, the ACCC has issued much stricter guidelines for internet providers to provide customers with details so they can align their expectations for their NBN rollout. These include such measures as the typical and variations of speeds of each of the plans in peak and off peak periods and the likely maximum speeds of the NBN service.

Threats of 5G

Telstra has announced it will be rolling out its 5G networks alongside its current 4G network and Optus has also declared its plan to release a 5G product in 2019. 5G intends to link customer mobile devices to a close-by wireless station via radio technologies. It promises higher connection speeds and superb quality of streamed media rivaling NBN services. Whilst 5G technologies are initially being based on mobile technologies compared to the NBN’s home Internet market, it does consider whether a mobile streaming service is all customers will require.

It still remains to be seen whether the NBN is successful in its aim of universal connectivity across Australia – but it needs to act quick! These mobile providers show no sign of slowing down and are far more fast moving in their pursuits to conquer the digital divide.

Let us know your thoughts on the NBN or the new 5G! Tag us through #lawpath or @lawpath

Bronte Callaghan

Bronte is currently a Legal Intern for Lawpath, working in their content team to help provide free legal guides to facilitate public access to legal resources. She is in her final year of a Bachelor of Laws and Commerce degree at Macquarie University.