UDIA National has pressed for Government to make straightforward and practical changes to its proposed policy on provision of Mobile telecommunications infrastructure in new developments in a new submission lodged this week.

The proposed changes will ensure there is no duplication of effort, additional costs nor unnecessary quarantining of land for services where appropriate co-location is possible.

UDIA is also pressing for the Government to streamline consultation of carrier services by allowing consultation with a Carrier referral agency that has high level region-wide knowledge of all infrastructure carrier servicing that is available and planned.

What Government is intending to do:

Government want to support the provision of mobile connectivity in new developments, by amending the Telecommunications in New Developments (TIND) Policy to include mobile telecommunications in its scope.

This would include expectations that developers will:

  • consider mobile connectivity as part of the overall development application process, with a similar level of importance as other utilities;
  • engage with a carrier as early as possible to ensure mobile coverage is in place prior to the selling or leasing of a building unit.
  • identify appropriate sites, or spaces, for mobile infrastructure to be deployed; and
  • make all reasonable efforts to reach ‘fair terms’ in land access agreements.

In addition to expanding the scope to include mobile connectivity, other proposed changes to the TIND policy include updates to:

  • reflect the passage of legislation;
  • clarify that developers building multi-unit buildings should also provision in-building pathways and risers; and
  • allow NBN Co to spread backhaul costs across different developments in the area.

UDIA National has taken a very practical approach to the proposal – we are supportive of changes that ensure fair, cost effective and timely provision of services without adding uncertainty or cost, by inadvertently implementing unclear processes, duplication of effort or delays in decision-making.

The overall guiding principles for our recommendations are that any new processes should remove roadblocks, not add unnecessary steps. Our top 4 recommendations are:

  1. Only set aside space for telecommunications where co-location is not possible.
  2. Rather than consulting with individual possible carriers, introduce the need to consult with a referral agency who has high level region-wide knowledge of all infrastructure carrier servicing that is available and planned.
  3. Suitable land tenure and ease of serviceability should be taken into account when planning spaces to be set aside for mobile telecommunications infrastructure.
  4. Shared backhaul costs should be amortised over relevant developments but further detail is needed on how the costs will be calculated when shared over each stage of a larger development project.