Alternatives to waiting for faster Internet in Australia are emerging for consumers in eligible areas, delivering up to 100Mbps speeds up and down today rather than sometime in 2020 – with the company of the moment being Lightning Broadband.
Proving lighting fast broadband can strike the same place every day, the company uses 5.8GHz microwave links, generally line of sight for each residential and business user, to deliver unlimited downloads on four tiers starting at 25Mbps up and down for $75 a month, and going up to 100 Mbps up and down for $120 per month.
Adam Turner at Fairfax explains in a must-read article that the company is "deploying microwave transmitters on tall buildings, connected to the telco's core network via 24 GHz microwave backhaul links to main towers which are connected to gigabit fibre".
If you are within a two-kilometre radius of the Lightning broadband microwave transmitter in your area, you’ll need a a microwave dish on your roof which, as Turner explains, "is installed as part of the $499 set-up fee".
There is a two-year contract, and Turner brings up the interesting point that "Internet traffic is not relayed between homes as a rule, meaning each home generally requires direct line of sight with the transmitter, although relays have been set up in a handful of locations".
At its website, the company itself welcomes you to "the unlimited and lightning fast Internet access of tomorrow in Australia", and says that NBN speeds and faster are available to its customers.
Lightning Broadband proudly boasts of being "an Australian owned, operated and staffed ISP business offering robust and reliable unlimited plans featuring incredibly fast speeds – without requiring an NBN connection to your premises or even in your immediate neighbourhood".
The company explains that it uses "solid, proven direct fibre and/or hybrid wireless + fibre broadband technology along with clever engineering", and provides "faster and cheaper unlimited data Internet plans to homes, businesses, apartments and other developments".
In addition, the company says that "unlike some other Internet service providers in Australia, our plans are symmetrical; meaning you’ll enjoy the same upload speed as download – and not just some of the time".
Their sales pitch concludes by assuring you that "Whether you’re streaming HD Netflix, gaming, video conferencing or performing mission critical and intensive cloud computing for your business: we’re the ISP that can offer you insanely fast, low-latency residential and commercial solutions you’ll love – and at a price less than many NBN broadband plans. Our services are not only Youtube HD verified, you’ll be able to stream 4K (Ultra HD, UHD) video too!’
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It will definitely be interesting to see how fast it expands across Melbourne, and in the future, Sydney and everywhere else it is able to.
It also races for deployment against a competitor like Artemis Networks and its "mobile fibre" wireless solution, which is rolling out in San Francisco, Levis Stadiums and more, including Nokia involvement from late last year. Tomorrow’s multi-gigabit fibre networks will be powering a very wide range of superfast Internet access technologies.
Finally! A much faster future is definitely in our futures, and if NBN can’t deliver fast enough, private enterprise is developing technologies as fast as possible to fill and surpass the gap.