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Wednesday, 13 June 2012 15:33

NBN Co forewarns councils on wireless tower plans

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NBN Co has published a list of the local councils in Victoria's southwest where it plans to submit planning applications for the installation of towers for its wireless broadband network.

NBN Co's community relations adviser, Tony Gibbs, said: "Subject to final radio frequency planning and other approvals the fixed wireless network plans to cover around 22,000 premises across 14 local government areas and [it] is expected facilities will start to be switched on in stages from around mid to late 2014."

The announcement follows rejection of NBN Co's planning applications by three rural councils in Victoria, according to a report in The Australian.

The paper said that Moorabool Shire had voted down NBN Co's proposal for a 40m tower at Yendon near Ballarat after hearing community objections about the visual impact and that similar proposals had been rejected by the neighbouring Ballarat and Golden Plains councils amid warnings that NBN Co needs to improve its consultation.

The report said that Moorabool Council's rejection "came as a surprise even to the objecting residents, who expected to lose their fight in light of positive recommendations from a council planning report that found the tower would improve internet services to the area."

It also reported one of the opponents calling on NBN Co to abandon its plans to provide wireless coverage and use satellite instead. (The resident would likely be unhappy with the resulting service and it would be impracticable if widely adopted: the satellites are being dimensioned to provide a 12Mbps service to about the same number of premises as will be served by wireless. To serve a significant portion of these by satellite would require much greater capacity in the satellites.

NBN Co lists the target councils as being: Ararat; Buloke; Colac-Otway; Corangamite; Glenelg; Hindmarsh; Horsham; Loddon; Moyne; Northern Grampians; Pyrenees; Southern Grampians; Council; Warrnambool and Yarriambiack.

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