The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has formally registered a new telecommunications industry code of conduct aimed at improving community consultation for the deployment of mobile base stations.
(Credit: Josh Taylor/ZDNet Australia)
The code (PDF), which was developed by the Communications Alliance, will come into effect on 1 July 2012. The code will look to improve collaboration with carriers, councils and the community in the development of mobile base stations, and will establish a uniform code of conduct for all carriers for base station deployment.
The new code will require carriers to "have regard" for what is termed as "community-sensitive" locations, such as childcare centres, schools or hospitals, and seek to avoid building in these locations. But the Communications Alliance did not set out the minimum distance that a carrier should build from a community-sensitive location, as had been suggested during the code's development.
Carriers will also be required to establish a new web portal for community consultation that will provide information about new base station plans.
The code follows the recent rejection in Federal Parliament of two Bills, from former Greens leader Bob Brown and Independent MP Andrew Wilkie, seeking greater community consultation for mobile phone towers. In rejecting the Greens legislation, committee chair Doug Cameron said that the costs imposed and unintended consequences for carriers would render the legislation impractical.
NBN Co, which is seeking to erect thousands of towers across Australia for its fixed-wireless long-term evolution (LTE) network by 2015, has already suffered a number of setbacks, with several towers rejected by local councils. However, it hasn't been all bad for the company. Earlier this month, NBN Co CEO Mike Quigley indicated that 52 sites had been approved for construction.