Wilkie Bill backward step to undermine base station rollout and community service levels

The Wilkie Bill on mobile base station deployment is unwieldy and would result in long delays in rolling out infrastructure catering for rapidly increasing consumer demand for mobile broadband and result in reduced services for mobile phone users.


Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) Chief Executive Officer, Chris Althaus, said the Bill of Tasmanian Independent, Andrew Wilkie, to alter low-impact exemptions and introduce buffer zones would undermine efficient deployment of base stations and place unworkable burdens on local councils’ approval processes.


“Mr Wilkie’s Bill has disregarded the community consultation process on a revised deployment code, which has community representation, to help ensure that communities are properly consulted on the placement of base stations in their local areas,” he said.


“The process for a new Mobile Phone Base Station Deployment Code with community representation is well advanced and it is counterproductive for Mr Wilkie to have ignored this transparent process with his political intervention, which risks poor outcomes that are in no-one’s interest, let alone the community’s.”


Mr Althaus said Mr Wilkie’s call to transform the Telecommunications (Low-impact Facilities) Determination, which allows industry to roll-out critical infrastructure in a timely and efficient manner, would result in local governments potentially being flooded with development applications for minor works and blocking the deployment process.


“This is a retrograde step which will undermine carriers’ ability to meet the huge demand for services, including the uptake of data through Mobile Broadband Band, which is in high demand throughout the economy with growth projections in the order of 280% to 2014.


“The Wilkie Bill would delay deployment of base stations and the necessary upgrading of existing facilities, place increasing pressure on network capacity, increase network enhancement costs and reduce services as operators try to cope with expected traffic loads.”


For more information contact Randal Markey, AMTA, (02) 6239 6555 or 0421 240 550