June 3, 2022

CommsDay: QCN, Channel Wireless funded by federal gov’t to deploy fixed wireless in NBN wireless footprint

QCN Fibre will work with Queensland WISP Channel Wireless to deliver 100Mbps+ fixed wireless services in the Mackay region using funding from round two of the federal Regional Connectivity Program allocated under the last government. The rollout will cover an area within NBN Co’s fixed wireless footprint, which QCN said only offered “extremely poor speeds for downloads and uploads” to the local communities.

It appears to be not the only instance of the outgoing government funding private fixed wireless upgrades against NBN Co, to which it is also provided $480m for its own national wireless upgrade.

Firms such as FSG, SkyFi, Pivotel and Connected Farms have also received funds from the RCP to build fixed wireless networks, often competing against NBN’s satellite service but sometimes also against its fixed wireless offering.

QCN said the project will provide fixed wireless services to Finch Hatton, Pinnacle, Gargett, Eungella and the surrounding areas of Marian and Mirani in the western region of the Mackay Regional Council area. NBN coverage maps show it uses fixed wireless to cover many of these areas, along with satellites in some outlying districts.

The Queensland government-owned backhaul provider said its project will effectively provide a ten-fold increase in digital speeds within and surrounding these towns,” QCN said.

Some 1550 households will be covered by the rollout, along with SMBs, schools, councils offices and government service providers, with 100-1000Mbps services to be

offered in the towns.

The project received $5.4 million in RCP funding, with QCN contributing $600,000 to the project. The funding will support an extension of QCN’s backhaul network as well as wireless infrastructure including tower structures, RAN cabinets and associated works in the towns.

“The lack of consistent and fast connectivity and infrastructure will always create a digital divide,” said QCN CEO Derek Merdith.

“We are committed to bridging that divide for regional communities and increasing productivity, connectivity, and opportunities for the people and businesses in the region. We are already witnessing the excitement of the local communities in Bluff, Duaringa, and Dingo who are benefiting from QCN Fibre’s project under Round 1 of the Australian Government’s Regional Connectivity Program.”

QCN received $3.75 million under the first round of the RCP.

The fixed wireless project was welcomed by Mackay Regional Council acting CEO Angela Hays. “The benefits to the community will be both economic and social, with better access to essential services, improved education opportunities and potential for businesses to grow and meet increasing customer needs,” she said. “We are pleased that through the partnership with QCN Fibre and Channel Wireless we can improve our services to the community and keep in step with our urban counterparts.”

As appeared in Communications Day – 3 June 2022 – commsday.com

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