NBN towers have 100% council approval

NBN towers have 100% council approval

Summary: Despite ongoing community concerns and parliamentary inquiries on mobile phone towers, NBN Co has had a 100 per cent success rate in getting its towers approved by local councils so far.

TOPICS: NBN, Broadband

Despite ongoing community concerns and parliamentary inquiries on mobile phone towers, NBN Co has had a 100 per cent success rate in getting its towers approved by local councils so far.

Last week it was reported by The Australian that NBN Co had been given a "wake-up call" after plans for a 40-metre tower in Buninyong, south of Ballarat, had been rejected by the Ballarat Council. However, according to the council minutes (PDF), the application was lodged by Crown Castle, not NBN Co.

NBN Co had expressed interest in using the tower for its fixed-wireless long-term evolution network, but it was to mainly be used by Telstra, Optus and Vodafone.

The council rejected the application because it would: "create a dominant visual intrusion into the local landscape through its location and height", be a detriment to adjacent land, and require native vegetation removal that would impact the local koala habitat.

NBN Co told ZDNet Australia that the company has had 10 approvals for tower construction so far, and no rejections, with a further 41 towers waiting for approval.

A trial of NBN Co's LTE network is set to take place in Armidale, Tamworth, Toowoomba, Ballarat, Darwin and Geraldton in April, with iiNet, Internode and Rivertel among the internet service providers to take part in the trial. NBN Co will need a total of 94 towers; NBN Co has co-located in 43 existing towers and begun construction on 12 so far.

The first five trial sites will cover 14,000 homes. The full roll-out of the fixed-wireless LTE network is expected to cover 4 per cent (or 500,000) of the 7 per cent of Australian premises not covered by the fibre roll-out. NBN Co will need to co-locate or build 2300 towers in total by 2015 for the network.

Topics: NBN, Broadband


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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  • The Buninyong, Crown Castle Australia application was recognised by all councilors to be an NBN CO proposal, in keeping with Crown Castle's Tower Build program that recognises the government as a client.
    The Mayor acknowledged the proposal "always was intended to be an NBN tower."
    The only people who insist it was not directly or indirectly an NBN application are Ballarat MP, Catherine King and an NBN CO media spokeswoman.
    Our lengthy conversations with the Site Acquisition manager , George Tsakis, Community relations Manager, Tony Gibbs, Pete Carapelloti- NBN Co's consultant at Daly International and Shane from Ericsson confirmed that a permit in the immediate vicinity was required by NBN Co to be the point where Buninyong's 100mbps fibred connectivity to the national broadband network would meet a tower that would commence the fixed wireless network.
    The locals on properties fringing the Buninyong township, (where residents knocked back 5 earlier lease offers and who opposed the application), are already enjoying 5 bar mobile coverage thanks to towers on Mt Buninyong and internet speeds @ up to 20mbps thanks to ADSL2. Our ill-informed, pro-NBN critics are taunting us as "anti-technology", "NIMBYs" and "luddites". Instead, we would prefer to be acknowledged as being technologically ripped off by the NBN; a) for missing out on the fibre we were expecting, b) for being expected to suck up the NBN's slower and even more inferior shared wireless delivery that can only achieve-(assuming that more than 15 of us aren't on the internet at the same time), a paltry, top speed of12mbps!- and c) for enduring the insult of repeated NBN Co lies, unaccountability and stealth.
    The rejected tower in NO way served to be of any technological benefit to those in the area it was proposed- something that NBN Co knew very well. Close to power and NBN fibre, a tower at this location would enable the NBN signal to be transmitted wirelessly to the regional and rural towns suffering poor coverage that would actually benefit from wireless NBN- but to where NBN Co are suddenly too cheap to roll fibre. These towers are to be deployed within 5kms of the next so the wireless signal, dependent on line-of-site contiguity, can reach the next.
    The question that your readers need to ask is why did NBN Co, instead of applying directly, commission Crown Castle to apply to build an NBN specific tower at a location required to switch from fibred to wireless delivery of the NBN? As a PR perspective, it should be obvious enough already but I'll continue with a few facts, some also mentioned in the minutes of the Ballarat Council meeting that the Znet article did not disclose.
    Included in Crown Castle's application was an EME report on NBN Co letterhead that was requested by and assigned an Ericsson reference number. The topography of the proposed site is confirmed by mobile carriers to be "ineffective" and not suitable to enhance mobile coverage due to its unlikely positioning at the bottom of a gully, where some homes within 200meters would sit at elevations within 15 meters of the antenna and practically level with the parabolic. The EME report lodged with the application provided a report that estimated EMEs, relevant if assuming level ground at 1.5m and ticked off the topography as 'N/A'
    Crown Castle applied to erect an NBN specific tower under powerlines in a flood prone gully in protected bushland subject to 4 overlays alongside a no-thru-road signed by Parks and Gardens as "significant roadside vegetation" and by Ballarat City Council as an "environmentally significant," high conservation zone.
    NBN Co have admitted they require 2,300 towers for the wireless network. Pete from Daly International, working for NBN Co told me personally and very clearly, that the figure was to be 2,800 and yes, I can prove it.
    How many more tower permits are to be applied for by NBN Co’s pals-on-the-payroll in the "tricky" areas with strong backlash potential? Where rational NIMBY objection might threaten the ‘street cred’ of the network’s propaganda and serve to stain the NBN Co brand?
    If Pete is to be believed, we should add at least another 500 sites and question the accuracy and/or likely increase of the wireless footprint and count the considerable costs not yet disclosed to taxpayers.
    Already in the Ballarat rollout we have seen NBN towers applied for, randomly across 4 neighbouring councils and strategically by 3 separate applicants; NBN Co, Daly International and Crown Castle.
    Our Mayor should be congratulated for calling this like it is and for cautioning all future regional and rural councils who might otherwise be chuffed to receive the NBN, to prepare for the compromise of the loaded wireless rollout and of the certain regional rollover ahead.
    NBN Rollover
    • Well go without...!
      • Yes it would be beta to have fibre.
        Knowledge Expert
  • Sorry, NBNrollover, but your diatribe of woe sounds like a classic NIMBY response along the lines of OMG-the-sky-is-falling.

    But you got a few things wrong, including the assertion that there is such a thing as rational NIMBY objection.
  • *from above,
    'NBN Co had expressed interest in using the tower for its fixed-wireless long-term evolution network, but it was to mainly be used by Telstra, Optus and Vodafone.'

    Nope. No mobile carriers interested at all. Just NBN Co...not applying, of course.... just expressing their 100% interest. Ask them.
    @ Socrates, you write so poetically but should work on your reading and comprehension- as should the critics. Please read the relevant planning report found in the council minutes. council minutes (PDF),
    If it assists, I will cut and paste a technical point so that you may get back to your bottle.
    "It is considered that the balance between the provision of important
    telecommunications services and the need to protect the environment from adverse
    impacts arising from telecommunications infrastructure has not been met.
    The applicant has not clarified which service providers, if any, intend to utilise this
    tower. Therefore the assessment as to whether a community need is being met
    cannot be sustained"
    Voila. Socrates, perhaps it is just your philosophy that anyone, or any local government capable of pursuing independent thought should not be applying critical analysis and local knowledge to a local government issue if there is an NBN agenda. I don't know because Socrates, in your entertaining prose you forgot to actually make a point! OH, besides your oh-so-original and terribly clever NIMBY name calling. Bravo.
    If you can explain to me any wisdom or the economic rational of placing a tower in an environmentally protected flood zone gully, against the planning advice of the local authority, in an area not suitable for mobile coverage- as advised by mobile Industry professionals, at a site where presently available internet services eclipse any potential wireless speeds on offer from NBN Co,...... then considering the rejected proposal to build a tower without a carrier would have relied on another dip of $500,000+ into your taxpayer dollars, I would be pleased to hear your thoughts.
    In the meantime, I'd like to suggest that you change your user name. Your intriguing choice of user ID, 'Socrates' demonstrates your obvious delusions of intellectual grandeur and falsely implies that you are a free and abstract thinker who might otherwise offer a valuable contribution to the subject of this article and be able to provide reasons for your ridicule of an innocent NIMBY. So disappointed!
    Perhaps you should re-choose for yourself a more appropriate user-name that you and your thumbs up crew will more intuitively identify you with?
    Is "Ignorant-NBN-Goose-Stepping-Lemming" still available?
    NBN Rollover
  • ' NBN Co will need a total of 94 towers; NBN Co has co-located in 43 existing towers and begun construction on 12 so far'.

    Without entertaining further discussion of nimbies etc, in the case of Buninyoong it must be assumed that NBNCo, as the only carrier expressing interest in that site, had anticipated co-locating on a non-existing Crown Castle proposal at a now rejected tower site to support the commencement of the area's wireless network.
    I have some questions regarding this section of the above article, I would be grateful if anyone could assist by responding - particularly anyone from NBNCo or an associate familiar with the Ballarat wireless roll-out.
    1) Of the 51 new towers required to be constructed to satisfy the transmission requirements of the wireless roll-out in the abovementioned trial sites, how many has NBNCo applied for with NBNCo named as the applicant?
    2) Of the 43 existing, co-locatable towers said to be utilised for the NBN in this roll-out, were any planning permits recently granted by applicants other than mobile carriers?
    3) Specifically, how many of the permits for the existing, co-locatable towers, acknowledged to be utilised in the NBN trial wireless roll-out were lodged by Daly International, Crown Castle Australia or any other NBN Consultant or NBN infrastructure provider?
    4) Presuming the remaining 39 required tower sites have been decided and planning permit applications have been lodged, is NBNCo named as the applicant for each of the final 39 NBN towers required for the LTE trial roll-out?

    Thank you
  • I ask the fundamental question again - why is NBN Co (allowed) spending our tax $$ to compete with an established wireless market. Can't they rather rather roll out infrastructure in an underserved area. Hell - give us $500 000 and we can build a hell of a lot of fibre in suposedly rural towns that would outpeform what these snouts-in-the-public-trough offer.


    Ah... herein lies your angst - "give us $500 000 and we can build a hell of a lot of fibre in suposedly rural towns that would outpeform what these snouts-in-the-public-trough offer".

    Tell us who us is Rossy, it may then explain all of your NBN hatred.

    Oh is your snout missing out?
    • Please explain our resident financial expert, who is paying right now the interest on NBN borrowings?
      Knowledge Expert
      • So you admit, the NBN is not being funded via general taxation revenue (the poor hurting taxpayer) after all?

        But, but, but what about interest...LOL! My you are scraping the bottom of the barrel.

        Sigh... well what about the fees charged to bond investors ($2.50 per $1000 face value iirc) and taxation payable by bond holders on their derived income?

        FFS... *shakes head*
  • I wonder if the Coalition will find positions for Beta (and so many others who must certainly be on the pricey NBN Co payroll) when they take over responsibility for the NBN debacle.
    All the fanfare and farce, bullying and bullshit I've read in responses to any negative opinion of the rollout is churned out by this crew with hasty disdain unashamedly seeking to influence standard public perception of this rollout.
    To date it has been tolerable and at times, rather amusing. But now those efforts are becoming embarrassing and AS A TAX PAYER I am offended to be paying for this privilege along with their wages.
    Perhaps this government has forgotten that they are PUBLIC SERVANTS? Instead choosing to play the media and to entertain Australians as PUPPET MASTERS. (You've got to admit Prime Minister, Julia is doing not a bad job at Pinocchio.)
    When it becomes known that this government in desperate attempts to justify FTTP100mbps has been effectively diddling the budgets of all departments to provide for pay-offs aka NBN funding, I'm sure that we will see posting of Luddite cursing and NIMBY bashing- in over-timed hyper-drive.
    Lap it up, Lads. Very soon we'll see the likes of BETA and his bullet-proof arrogance become obsolete.
    Give us all a break and fall on your swords, SOCK PUPPETS.