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  • News, Telecommunications - Written by on Monday, September 10, 2012 13:44 - 71 Comments

    NBN Co faces wireless tower backlash

    This article is by independent journalist Jacob Atkins.

    news The National Broadband Network Company is under fire for an alleged lack of community consultation as it rolls out fixed wireless infrastructure across parts of regional Australia, with local councils expressing frustration at what they say is an ‘apply first, consult later’ pattern of behaviour.

    In June NBN Co announced it was constructing fixed wireless infrastructure across 42 local government districts in Victoria and Tasmania. The Dorset Council, based in Scottsdale in north-east Tasmania, on August 20 rejected, seven councillors to two, NBN Co’s application to build a 35-metre high wireless broadband tower on the town’s golf course. NBN Co will be appealing that decision at the Tasmanian Planning Tribunal.

    At the council meeting, Councillor John Beswick strongly criticised NBN Co’s proposal, saying they had failed to meet their own standards. Beswick told Delimiter NBN Co’s planning scheme states that “wherever possible towers should be co-located on other infrastructure.” “NBN Co hadn’t looked sufficiently at already existing sites, instead settling on the unpopular golf course site,” he said. There is an Optus tower a few hundred metres from the proposed site, which Councillors believe would be able to accommodate the infrastructure.

    A spokeswoman for NBN Co said that in relation to co-location of infrastructure, “unfortunately it is not always possible to find sites that fit our radio frequency requirements. We are not providing a mobile service, but designing a network to deliver a defined level of service. As a result there are some limits on the locations that can be used and still meet our performance standards.”

    Beswick also criticised NBN Co for not taking seriously consultation with residents and the broader community. “They gave council a statement in June which included a commitment to community consultation,” he said. He claimed the statement contained a list of ten items relating to community consultation. “No-one seems to be aware of them having done any of those ten things. [NBN Co] need to get feedback from the community before they settle on a site. They seem to have lodged an application and then are waiting for the repercussions.”

    The NBN Co spokeswoman said: “NBN Co submitted its plans in accordance with local planning requirements, and through that process the plans were subject to a community consultation process. Throughout the process NBN Co has addressed concerns from the Council and the local community.” Dorset Council communications manager Malcolm Reid also confirmed NBN Co had done all it had technically needed to do under the Planning Act.

    Meeting requirements through local government process has also not been enough for some. On August 6, a closed meeting was held in Scottsdale between objectors to the tower and the two companies involved in the proposal, NBN Co and engineering firm Aurecon. Karen Seelig, present at the meeting and the only resident to receive a notification letter about the development, said the proposal representatives at the meeting “picked and chose what they wanted to comment on.”

    The possible effects of electro-magnetic radiation from the tower were of chief concern among objectors, but no questions on this subject were allowed at the meeting. Seelig said the community members at the meeting felt rushed and had their questions brushed aside. “There was no response when asked if they would consider satellite [broadband],” she said. “They refused to answer my question about whether weather patterns would affect the tower, just saying ‘well if it snowed obviously that would affect its performance’”.

    The NBN Co spokeswoman said that the company’s representative at the meeting, site acquisition manager George Tzakis, “openly addressed and responded to the queries raised.”

    Dorset Planning Manager Wendy Mitchell chaired the meeting, said: “from my point of view it went well, the objectors were able to talk face to face with the proponents and discuss issues concerning them.” While wary of speaking on behalf of NBN Co, she added: “I think the NBN is committed to community consultation when they think there are questions the community might have. They were under the assumption that the community didn’t have any questions.”

    It is thought that the company may have tried to sniff the community breeze from a non-local planning consultant no longer engaged by the council. There were 7 objectors to the proposal and Seeling gathered more than 200 petitions opposing the tower.

    The rejection follows a bitter stoush earlier this year between the government-owned entity and Golden Plains Shire in Victoria, where similar claims of negligible community consultation were levelled. Golden Plains mayor Geraldine Frantz said at the time: “NBN Co.’s claims that they have taken the time to adequately engage with the community… are simply not correct.”

    After that Council rejected NBN Co’s proposal, NBN Co did not seek alternative sites and instead sent letters to residents saying they would be receiving slower satellite broadband instead. Frantz accused NBN Co of bullying the Shire into accepting their proposal or face being downgraded to satellite. According to statements made by NBN Co chief Mike Quigley to The Age in January, the company is concerned that councils will get cheeky and think if they knock back fixed wireless, they will be upgraded to fibre.

    In June Moorabool Shire near Ballarat also knocked back a tower proposal after community concern.
    In its appeal to the Tribunal, NBN Co will argue it has been fully compliant with local and state planning requirements and that the golf course tower is critical to the network because it is intended to act as a transmission hub for nine other towers in the region.

    Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, was previously thwarted in attempts to stretch the public consultation period for proposed mobile phone and wireless towers to 30 days through an amendment to the Telecommunications Act. “Clearly 10 or even 14 days is not enough time for people to gather information and prepare a detailed response,” he said. “Local communities have to live with these huge towers and they deserve a reasonable timeframe to make a comment.”

    The spats look set to continue as NBN Co seeks to set up a network of fixed wireless infrastructure in areas where it is unfeasible for fibre-optic cables to be laid down.

    opinion/analysis (by Renai LeMay)
    I have not investigated this issue as deeply as Jacob has. However, my analysis of the situation is that NBN Co does appear to be meeting all of the required regulations involving new mobile tower infrastructure and planning, but perhaps has not gone beyond those requirements quite far enough, in order to address community concerns about the issue, some of which can be quite wacky (for example, the electromagnetic issue, which has been continually shown scientifically to be a non-issue.

    This is not an easy or homogenuous situation — in each different region, NBN Co will face slightly different concerns and issues, and I am not surprised to see these kinds of issues popping up. So has NBN Co really done anything wrong? Probably not. In general I do think the Australian public in general needs to adjust our expectations about this process. The wireless component of NBN Co’s rollout was never going to be easy or straightforward (the council planning process never is), and I would expect more of these kind of ‘speed bumps’ along the road.

    From my perspective I feel as though NBN Co is getting most of this right, but there’s a little bit of turbulence in some regions. It is important to note that these community concerns do exist. Given how politicised the NBN rollout has been so far, if this level of community protest is all that NBN Co sees over the next several years as the wireless component is rolled out, I think the company will count itself lucky ;)

    Image credit: Adam Jakubiak, royalty free. Note: This is not a picture of NBN Co’s wireless towers. It is a stock image.

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    1. Sydney
      Posted 10/09/2012 at 1:47 pm | Permalink |

      “There is an Optus tower a few hundred metres from the proposed site, which Councillors believe would be able to accommodate the infrastructure.”

      Glad the councillors know more about radio frequency planning than NBN Co’s LTE contractor, Ericsson. *cough*

    2. Posted 10/09/2012 at 1:48 pm | Permalink |

      Renai, I can’t believe you used the word “backlash” in the headline of this article, you’re such an exaggerator. A handful of small councils doesn’t equal a backlash. Just get over yourself and admit that you’re a biased journalist and should give up covering subjects which you know nothing about. N00b.

      • Sydney
        Posted 10/09/2012 at 1:53 pm | Permalink |

        Exactly. You should complain to the publisher.

        • Grey Wind
          Posted 10/09/2012 at 2:24 pm | Permalink |

          Dont bother, he is too busy picking up Coalition paycheques.

          • Posted 10/09/2012 at 2:31 pm | Permalink |

            That reminds me — must write an article about how you can never seem to get good, fresh caviar these days — even if you’re willing to pay top dollar. You can get good champagne though.

            • midspace
              Posted 10/09/2012 at 4:21 pm | Permalink |

              Take my money damm it!

    3. Dave Ingram
      Posted 10/09/2012 at 1:54 pm | Permalink |

      My thoughts are the same as Sydney’s. What makes a council think they know anything about siting RF equipment? Just because there is a tower 300m doesn’t mean that the coverage will be acceptable. This makes as much sense as some clowns that wanted to put a 40MW solar power station next to an 11kV feeder. Of course it was going to work because the power lines were all ready there! [head hits desk].

      The only thing more dangerous than an idiot is a partially informed idiot. They usually know enough to be dangerous.

      • socrates
        Posted 10/09/2012 at 3:30 pm | Permalink |

        And the only thing more dangerous than a partially informed idiot seems to be a complete idiot sitting on some frog-puddle council and basking in the clouds of petulant parochial NIMBYism.

    4. Kerry
      Posted 10/09/2012 at 1:56 pm | Permalink |

      NBNco’s behavour is no different to that of other telcos attempting to do work under the Telecommunications Act. They all see consultation as a waste of time and a significant threat to their often ridiculous build timeframes.

      What doesnt help NBNco is that quite a lot of coverage has been given to the fiber network, but there are considerable areas that will not get access to it – many see it as sloppy seconds, given many (as they often say) can already access services that are better speed then what the NBNco can offer.

      • Posted 10/09/2012 at 2:03 pm | Permalink |

        In NBN fixed wireless areas, the copper network will remain, and people will be able to keep any existing ADSL services, not ripped out as many would believe. They will not “lose” the speeds they have now.

        Also, any mobile wireless services run by companies such as Telstra, Optus and Vodafone will also remain.

        NBN fixed wireless is for people who can’t get anything at all at the moment.

        • Emmett B
          Posted 10/09/2012 at 3:49 pm | Permalink |

          Another consideration is that NBN fixed wireless offers 12Mbps Down/1 Mbps Up as a “minimum”. Many people will be able to obtain better speeds than this over NBN’s fixed wireless.

          • Francis Young
            Posted 11/09/2012 at 10:33 am | Permalink |

            Correct. In fact, as NBNCo representatives have publicly stated several times, once the mandated LTE wireless build is completed in late 2015, it is set to be upgraded to 25/2 immediately.

            This means that the 3% of Australian premises that are on satellite will be the only Australians without low-latency terrestrial broadband that is equivalent or better than ADSL2+ for someone living inside a DSLAM. For our vast continent, that is indeed an impressive outcome.

      • Hubert Cumberdale
        Posted 10/09/2012 at 5:04 pm | Permalink |

        “What doesnt help NBNco is that quite a lot of coverage has been given to the fiber network, but there are considerable areas that will not get access to it ”

        The fibre footprint covers 93% of premises not 93% of the land mass. That is the meat in the sandwich, of course that is where the focus is (fibre is the future after all). Those in the “considerable areas” have to consider the fibre rollout has to stop somewhere and we are not going to get 100% fibre coverage right away. If NBNco was aiming for this would people find the price acceptable? I’m willing to bet those in these areas would complain the most and loudest, they would say stuff like “spend it on roads, hospitals, schools and more roads in country areas. I got wireless already, who needs ftth!”

        • Goresh
          Posted 10/09/2012 at 6:46 pm | Permalink |

          “we are not going to get 100% fibre coverage right away”

          There will never ever be 100% fiber coverage.

          If we couldn’t do it with copper in 100 years, why would you think it could be done with fiber?

          • Equitable
            Posted 12/09/2012 at 1:32 am | Permalink |

            City dwellers already enjoy better much broaband access than satellite areas. If broadband acces is truly the future of communication and an essential service, why not provide parity of service, as is currently mandated for fixed line telephone services?

            Wouldn’t a true national broadband network provide parity of service to all Australians? Where is the equity in spending so much money to provide a better grade of service to those who are already way ahead?

            • Harimau
              Posted 13/09/2012 at 2:05 pm | Permalink |

              Really?

              1. A significant proportion of households are in a “black spot”.

              2. The NBN is about offering a minimum standard (a certain speed at a certain price), not parity. That minimum standard is, iirc, 12 MB/s around Australia, no matter how remote you are. 12 MB/s is, I think, faster than the vast majority of connections Australia currently has. It’s not about re-distributing wealth, it’s about raising the standard of living for everyone in the country.

              3. Only building infrastructure to regional locations with a minority of the country’s population would truly make the NBN an expediture and not an investment. The NBN is operating on the principle of cross-subsidy: People in metro locations pay more than required (i.e. much more than the cost of the fibre network / the number of fibre network users) so people in regional locations pay less (ideally, the same price). The cost of the fibre network per household on the fibre network is far higher than the cost of the satellite/fixed wireless infrastructure per household accessing the satellite/fixed wireless infrastructure. Take away the fibre network (as you seemingly propose), and you’re still paying a huge chunk of the original investment, but only servicing 7% of the households in Australia. If it operated as a business that paid itself off within a reasonable timeframe, people in regional areas would be spending a stupidly high price – and at the same time the other 93% of the households in Australia gain nothing from that absurd expenditure; how’s that for equitable?

              • Harimau
                Posted 13/09/2012 at 2:07 pm | Permalink |

                Correction:
                The cost of the fibre network per household on the fibre network is far LOWER* than the cost of the satellite/fixed wireless infrastructure per household accessing the satellite/fixed wireless infrastructure.

        • Frank
          Posted 10/09/2012 at 9:08 pm | Permalink |

          I think some of the future profits from the NBN should go to expanding the fibre footprint so sometime in the future all of Australia has fibre.

          • Francis Young
            Posted 11/09/2012 at 10:35 am | Permalink |

            On the money, Frank. And this will only happen if the NBN remains publicly owned, as recommended by the (Labor-minority) Senate Committee.

      • James Q
        Posted 11/09/2012 at 10:13 am | Permalink |

        >They all see consultation as a waste of time

        It *is* a waste of time, and no matter how hard you try, the community will always claim they weren’t consulted enough.

        There isn’t much to discuss. NBNCo’s engineers already know which sites will work. If the council rejects them, that’s it. No amount of consultation will re-write the laws of physics to make another site magically work.

        Often, they reject them due to “radiation”, then go home and cook with their microwave, talk on their cordless phone and look at pictures of cats using their wifi.

        • Thomas
          Posted 11/09/2012 at 10:37 am | Permalink |

          they didnt consult us = we didnt get our way

          • Matt.
            Posted 12/09/2012 at 12:59 am | Permalink |

            Correct! or to look at another way; they were expected democracy, but got fascism.

    5. Dean
      Posted 10/09/2012 at 2:30 pm | Permalink |

      The possible effects of electro-magnetic radiation from the tower were of chief concern among objectors, but no questions on this subject were allowed at the meeting.

      To be perfectly honest, I wouldn’t have allowed questions on that particular subject, either.

      • Posted 10/09/2012 at 2:35 pm | Permalink |

        I would have handed out a briefing document on why it’s not an issue, though. With science. Lots of science. Science is always good.

        • Posted 10/09/2012 at 3:01 pm | Permalink |

          Television transmissions emit more radiated RF power. Stop the TVs!

        • midspace
          Posted 10/09/2012 at 4:24 pm | Permalink |

          And some DIY design kits on how to build your own Faraday cage into your own home, along with tear off vouchers.

        • Stephen
          Posted 10/09/2012 at 6:13 pm | Permalink |

          The only problem with that is that it’s almost impossible to use reason to argue against a position reached illogically. You can’t explain the difference between ionizing & non-ionizing if all they hear is radiation…

        • Tone
          Posted 11/09/2012 at 7:04 am | Permalink |

          People like free merch. Maybe NBNCo could get a whole batch of branded tinfoil hats made? This would help those worried about the radiation frying their brains.

          • TechinBris
            Posted 11/09/2012 at 10:37 am | Permalink |

            What brains. Their brains shriveled up and ceased to work when they started to know all they needed to know, because Rupert tells them so. Sheeple is all they are. People who mindlessly follow the promises of others that they will never realise.

    6. Posted 10/09/2012 at 2:38 pm | Permalink |

      You know what happens when you consult the community, they don’t want the tower near their house. This has happened multiple times arouund Albury Wodonga in regards to cell phone towers. Meanwhile they continue to complain about bad service.

      I think the perception of the health implications of a nearby tower are far ahead of the reality – aka science.

    7. Grey Wind
      Posted 10/09/2012 at 3:13 pm | Permalink |

      “In general I do think the Australian public in general needs to adjust our expectations about this process.”

      We will sooner have broadband delivered by flying pigs, i’m afraid.

    8. bob
      Posted 10/09/2012 at 3:26 pm | Permalink |

      When backwards morons who think towers are going to radiation their faces off mix with octogenrian NIMBY fools and are listened to by a council who care more about staying in power and catering to the fuddy duddie rent-a-whingers NBN will continue to have problems in these backwater areas.

    9. Alex
      Posted 10/09/2012 at 4:43 pm | Permalink |

      And this (wireless) is the great white hope many want to replace the entire fibre network with:/

      • Hubert Cumberdale
        Posted 10/09/2012 at 5:18 pm | Permalink |

        The story so far.

        NBNco: Let’s build a FttH network to improve our communications infrastructure.

        Them: No. Wireless. Everyone wants wireless. Fibre is a white elepants, too expense and too hard. It’s a waste.

        NBNco: OK, time to cover those other areas not getting FttH with a different solution. Fixed wireless will work.

        Them: OMG why you gave us wireless? We need the fibre too, especially in our liberal party electorates. Also I fear the radiations may get into my brains giving me a brain tumor. Give the fibres or we wont give permission to build wireless towers.

        NBNco: OK, satellite for you then.

        • TechinBris
          Posted 11/09/2012 at 10:43 am | Permalink |

          OMG, Satellite! They will peer down into my backyard and invade my privacy! They will eavesdrop on me! Give me the Pink Elephant that is my friend. He is flying high right now. His name is LNP!

        • Matt.
          Posted 11/09/2012 at 10:50 am | Permalink |

          If it’s got to be done, do it right the first time. (sound famailiar?)

          Claim:
          NBNCo: We will give them FTTH, better faster. ADSL2+ and wireless is not good enough for us.
          Opposition: FTTN + wireless more cost effective.

          Reality
          NBNCo: Provides inferior to ADSL, wireless + satellite to most of Australia’s landmass, at huge cost.
          Coalition: Remains to be seen, but couldn’t be any worse than NBNco’s offering.

          Question: Why is current ADSL2+ not fit to be called NBN, while inferior wireless and satellite is?

          • TechinBris
            Posted 11/09/2012 at 11:01 am | Permalink |

            There is a flaw in your argument by not considering your statements to the conclusion, but instead stopping half way. Reconsider and rewrite.
            *Hint* Use Science and not the literature from the “House of LNP”. Mathematics rarely lies. People do.

            • Matt.
              Posted 11/09/2012 at 11:15 am | Permalink |

              @TechinBris

              Not sure what you are getting at here, as my comment basically supports your proposition that given we have gone down the “NBN” path, fibre should be considered in these “marked for wireless” areas; and for copper to cut over to fibre as it degrades. The tone was a bit tongue in cheek, but I was actually serious about doing it right. The political reference was simply to point out the irony of NBNCo adopting an in practice approach, thet the so rubbished in principle.

              It was not my intention to offend you political sensibilityies. My politics swing with policy, not propoganda.

              • TechinBris
                Posted 11/09/2012 at 12:02 pm | Permalink |

                Don’t be offended, but in this day of paid Trolls and FUD Merchants, our sensibilities are worn out. No offense was given, but a request to rethink as most of the questions were self apparent if you apply technology and dismiss the hyperbole that is flying around. One thing apparent is a lot of the logic being applied in this quagmire, is that it stops immediately as soon as a $ sign pops up, but rarely is the whole story continued through to a logical ending with all the pros and cons. Both sides of politics are doing a disservice to this program by both sullying the ether with FUD.
                Shut out the noise and cacophony and get back to the basics. When you stop, listen to the quiet voice of reason that doesn’t have to pressure you, then you conclude to an end game and conclusion you can agree with, whether correct or incorrect, feel satisfied with your application of logical thinking and look at what you have created for yourself. I suggest you always consult your peers as we all stuff up at times with our mathematics and chemistry. That is the wonderful thing about peer reviewed Science. Rarely is ever one person utterly and totally correct. But together we have changed the world. For better or worse, that is another question.

          • RocK_M
            Posted 11/09/2012 at 11:12 am | Permalink |

            Ermm… Matt care to elaborate on *how* FTTN is “worse than ADSL2+”? And please don’t you dare bring up the 12mbps plans

            Second your being disingenious w/ the wireless/satellite there. Yes chances are a whole lot of landmass will be satellite… and most of these will be on the low populated/country areas.. Such as say the outback, the dessert? Unless you propose we lay lines for all of that empty land. Most of Australia is *landmass* most of the densely populated metros are at the peripheral edges.

            And IIRC the whole points was Fibre to 93% of the premises. Not actual landmass….

            • Matt.
              Posted 11/09/2012 at 11:42 am | Permalink |

              @Rock_M asked:

              “Matt care to elaborate on *how* FTTN is “worse than ADSL2+”?”

              Didn’t realise I said it was. To which FTTN are you referring? My point is that NBNCo and the Government has rubbished FTTN, then set about implementing satellite and wireless.

              Rock_M said…
              “a whole lot of landmass will be satellite… and most of these will be on the low populated/country areas”
              To me it sounds like you are saying: Oh well don’t worry about those country hicks, they wouldn’t know the difference anyhow!

              We managed to run copper cable and pay for to every remote location, so many years ago, so why not fibre now? What about the USO, we did it back then, (universal service) but we can’t do it now?
              Anyway, the point I’m making is that it’s disingenuous to call it a “National broadband Network”, which implies to most people that it is somew universal, as if there were something that set it apart from what we have now; when really, all we are talking about is an incremental improvement, that hugely favours motropolitan users. Then there’s all the propoganda about services to the bush, as if they had nothing and will be getting fibre, when the truth is they currently have satellite, and will remain so, albeit faster satellite.

              • Richard C
                Posted 11/09/2012 at 2:55 pm | Permalink |

                > We managed to run copper cable and pay for to every remote location, so many years ago,
                > so why not fibre now?

                Actually, PMG/Telecom/Telstra didn’t run copper cable to every remote location. There are many remote homesteads still served by Telstra radio links only, including farm homesteads and aboriginal outstations.

                Not to mention places too remote even for this – who have nothing but satellite phones.

                • Matt.
                  Posted 11/09/2012 at 11:24 pm | Permalink |

                  @Richard C

                  I take your somewhat pedantic point; but you seem to have missed mine; which was that the vast majority of those resident currently mapped for “NBN” satellite or wireless, are currently, and have been, for a long time, served by copper. I’m not talking about truly remote locations by any stretch of the imagination; many of them are within 100km of capital cities, and even shorter distances from major regional centres.

            • Matt.
              Posted 12/09/2012 at 12:15 am | Permalink |

              “a whole lot of landmass will be satellite… and most of these will be on the low populated/country areas.. Such as say the outback, the dessert”

              Equating the 7% slated for wireless or satellite with the desert or outback what’s misleading and disingenuous, or perhaps misinformed:

              To be fair; Just as the oft quoted 93% relates to population, not landmass, mainly residents of capital cities, smaller cities or major towns or regional centres. Similarly, the bulk of the remaining 7%; reside around the outskirts of the aforementioned major capitals, large towns and major regional centres (many within 100km or so, and often less).

    10. CMOTDibbler
      Posted 10/09/2012 at 6:06 pm | Permalink |

      How many towers are the NBNCo proposing within this council’s area? How many were approved and how many were rejected?

      iirc the Golden Plains council rejected only one of nine tower applications. Was this case similar?

      • Jacob
        Posted 10/09/2012 at 7:32 pm | Permalink |

        Hi,

        My understanding of the meeting is that two towers were voted on. The one in Scottsdale was rejected but the one at Winnaleah was approved because it was away from any homes and thus was deemed to not impact on the visual amenity of the area and there were very few objections.

        NBN Co said that there is a further nine towers proposed for the region, and that the one rejected is integral to that proposed network. However they have not actually submitted any applications for any of those towers yet, and presumably won’t until the Scottsdale one is sorted out at the tribunal.

        Hope that helps.

        • CMOTDibbler
          Posted 10/09/2012 at 9:58 pm | Permalink |

          Thanks. It is inevitable that some towers will not be approved. There are too many of them for it to be otherwise. I think the NBNCo should have a ‘plan B’ for each tower, or group of towers, as part of their risk management. Then it comes down to negotiation with the council. Hopefully we won’t end up with another ‘Council faces wireless tower backlash’ headline like we did with Golden Valley.

          • bob
            Posted 10/09/2012 at 11:20 pm | Permalink |

            they do have a backup plan, its called satellite – suckers.
            and LNP thought wireless was a good idea for everyone – HUH?
            Councils can also pay up for the the extentions if they want fibre in these uneconomical areas’

    11. Goresh
      Posted 10/09/2012 at 6:40 pm | Permalink |

      I think local councils should be required to submit all infrastructure builds to NBNco for approval as logically, if the councellors think they know more about RF design than the experts engaged by NBNco, it is likely that BNco will know more about local infrastructure than the councellors experts.

      The simple fact is that co=locating a site is a plus for NBNco in almost every way.
      Far less hassle with local government
      Cheaper to build
      Much faster to build.

      I can guarantee that they would NOT build their own tower if there was any way possible to use existing infrastructure. At the end of the day however, they are building a data network, not a voice network and that has different requirements.

    12. Michael
      Posted 10/09/2012 at 7:09 pm | Permalink |

      The local government represents the local community. They establish the consultation process that meets the needs and wants of the local community through being that representative body. If the community is unhappy with the level of consultation perhaps they should take the issue up with their elected representatives.

    13. TechinBris
      Posted 10/09/2012 at 7:27 pm | Permalink |

      I continue to wonder why fibre is continually written off the agenda in the areas marked for Wireless. Understandably it is not feasible to fibre everywhere, but surely an attrition model would prevail in the long course. Regional small towns get a Wireless link. As the copper in the town areas becomes too bad and reach a certain degradation of service, street by street is gradually cut over to fibre with a wireless trunk connecting the town. One day, maybe a fibre will roll in. Those in the rural regions take direct wireless. Isolated regions, well sorry, Satellite, but like today if you have copper, it will by attrition, be replaced with glass. Dare we as a Nation, to have a dream?
      Some time off in the future, as the public service that NBN is doing for us continues and if we are not once again fooled by Charlatans into selling off our most valuable asset (the Nation’s social communication grid), NBN will still be there upgrading infrastructure as the demands of the Nation require, slowly filling the gap. Like the last century PMG, it didn’t happen overnight, but it did happen.
      Patience and vigilance Grasshoppers. Our right to communicate with our fellow Australians should not have a price tag injustice slapped on it. In a local library, Post Office or Police Station even a homeless person should be allowed to send an email to loved ones, receive emails of care love and the obligatory occasional flame (Anyone can set up auto delete!) Are we so inhumane, that we deny some, what most take for granted? If we cannot communicate amongst ourselves as a Nation, we lose our Nation.

      • fincoder
        Posted 11/09/2012 at 9:15 am | Permalink |

        I agree with the policy or even just a goal of replacing all copper with fibre in the longer term (say 20 years).

    14. Abel Adamski
      Posted 10/09/2012 at 7:33 pm | Permalink |

      Just for interest MT’s response to Harrison Young’s speech

      http://www.malcolmturnbull.com.au/blogs/malcolms-blog/a-response-to-mr-harrison-youngs-speech-today-on-the-nbn/

    15. Jeffrey ONeill
      Posted 10/09/2012 at 8:35 pm | Permalink |

      I can’t wait to see how MT and his wireless atomic bananas are welcome in 3 times as many regional areas ad what’s proposed by the current NBN.

      Makes we monder how much more shonky MTs fully costed plan really is!

      • Posted 10/09/2012 at 8:36 pm | Permalink |

        “wireless atomic bananas”???

        • TechinBris
          Posted 11/09/2012 at 10:49 am | Permalink |

          Wireless Atomic Bananas! Ooooohhhh! Sign me up for the latest in brain numbing vapor products from the House of LNP!! Science is so yesterday in a Conservative world! Ritalin anyone?

    16. Daniel
      Posted 10/09/2012 at 8:56 pm | Permalink |

      Councils know crap about telecommunications – it’s why there is lack of room to put telecommunications equipment ANYWHERE.

      Backlash is no – just Councils saying something believing that is the same thing as doing something.

    17. Paul Thompson
      Posted 10/09/2012 at 10:07 pm | Permalink |

      Every time I hear people crying for “consultation” all I actually hear is people wanting a chance to shoot something down. People don’t want consultation – they want confrontation.

      “They are building such and such, why weren’t we consulted??” always means “I would have done everything in my power to stop them doing such and such, usually without any logical reason for my obstructionism”.

      Don’t want that wireless tower? Satellite for you. Next!

    18. OliphanT
      Posted 11/09/2012 at 12:44 am | Permalink |

      You watch, MT will become less and less relevant over the next 12 months as NBN starts to get some traction. All he can do is complain. Nothing positive EVER* comes from MT.

      *The caps were just for you Renai ;-)

    19. Posted 11/09/2012 at 8:33 am | Permalink |

      Simple formula:

      Premise inside 93% = FTTH = Happy Days
      Premise outside 93% but inside 97% = Fixed Wireless (no Council disputes) or keep current ADSL service
      Premise outside 93% but inside 97% and Council Complains = Satellite (NBNCo comply with rules but don’t debate with idiots – provides 6M/1M Interim Satellite) or keep current ADSL service
      Premise outside 97% = Satellite or keep current ADSL service (if available)

      And later:

      Premise outside 93% but inside 97% and Council Complains = Satellite = Council Loses Next Election = NBNCo install Fixed Wireless as planned

    20. Soth
      Posted 11/09/2012 at 11:15 am | Permalink |

      “NBN Co will be appealing that decision at the Tasmanian Planning Tribunal.” Ahh although I’m all for the NBN and these wireless towers have to go somewhere, but going around it this way is wrong. Hopefully this appeal will involve the people a bit more. People who aren’t informed see this as ‘ramming it down their throats’ and I can’t see that being a good thing for votes.
      and On a lighter note, a wireless tower on a golf course, they should put it on the practice driving range at the 250m mark and have prizes for hitting it! At least this takes stress off that poor guy in the caged car who everybody aims for :)

      • bob
        Posted 11/09/2012 at 2:59 pm | Permalink |

        They have to appeal. There is nothing more they can do. These appeals general succeed and over-ride the nimby fools on the council.

        • Equitable
          Posted 12/09/2012 at 1:38 am | Permalink |

          Those “nimby fools” are democratically elected representitives doing the jobs for which they were elected.

          • Goresh
            Posted 25/04/2013 at 7:44 am | Permalink |

            Actually, they generally really want the infrastructure as do the majority of the voters in their region, but they are afraid to approve developments because of the backlash of the vocal minority.

            So they reject the application EXPECTING the telecommunications company to appeal to which they mount only a token response to ensure the telco succeeds.

            That way they have “done all they could” but the evil telco forced it on them and avoid the backlash from the nimbys but also please the majority of their constituents who want the facility.

            The danger they face of course with NBNco is that unless the tower is in a strategic position in a chain of towers, NBNco will simply walk away.
            When this happened the first time I remember the outrage in the media by the local council because NBNco accepted their rejection, refused to appeal and put them on the satellite.
            Suddenly, rather than a handful of upset nimbys, the councilors faced a whole electoraate up in arms over the lost opportunity.

    21. ZT
      Posted 11/09/2012 at 12:14 pm | Permalink |

      New developments be they a new house next door or a mobile/wireless tower, always attract attention – good and bad. Unfortunately there are people who feel they have a say in what someone else does on their property, even when that proposal has passed all approvals required. The majority of comments are usually senseless, and nothing but causing trouble, however all comments need to be assessed as there are quite relevant ones brought up too! However, people in community need to realise if they put too many hurdles in the way, either they won’t get anything or they will get an inferior service. NBN Co. have finite amount of money to spend and it cannot all be spent on community consultation. The design of a tower is very complicated, and it is not possible to explain every aspect as especially to people who are not telecommunications engineers.

    22. Posted 24/04/2013 at 2:37 pm | Permalink |

      How is it that a towers position can be jeopardised if there is an animal breeding program nearby (it affects the animals reproduction), yet no consideration is afforded humans? A tower cannot be placed in close proximity of stud farms or pure breeders because it has been scientifically acknowledged that the signal causes tissue damage in animals. What is of most concern is that human tissue damage falls into the acceptable range of collateral damage as per WHO and ACMA.

      • Goresh
        Posted 25/04/2013 at 7:48 am | Permalink |

        What sort of tower are we talking here?
        A mobile base station transmitting a handful of watts or a TV station transmitting 10′s of thousands of watts?

        I guarantee it is not the former.

    23. Goresh
      Posted 25/04/2013 at 7:58 am | Permalink |

      “The possible effects of electro-magnetic radiation from the tower were of chief concern among objectors, but no questions on this subject were allowed at the meeting.”

      These questions should be addressed to ARPANSA who set the standards not the telco who designs sites in accordance with them.
      It is like asking the steelworker bolting together the girders to explain the metallurgy for the steel they are made from rather than the engineer/architect who selected them.




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