18 December 2018
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has directed PIPE Networks Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of TPG, to comply with new rules for small mobile phone base stations (small cells) specified in the Mobile Phone Base Station Deployment Industry Code.
The code aims to ensure mobile telcos consult with local councils and communities before deploying mobile phone infrastructure.
‘It’s important for telcos to keep affected communities in the loop and to consider their feedback when deploying new infrastructure’, said ACMA Chair, Nerida O’Loughlin.
The ACMA’s direction follows two ACMA investigations where PIPE Networks was found to have contravened code rules:
- by failing to provide accurate and up-to-date information to a local council and residents during consultations on a proposed base station deployment
- by starting work before concluding consultation on the proposed deployment.
If PIPE Networks fails to comply with the ACMA’s direction, the ACMA may issue an infringement notice or commence proceedings in the Federal Court. PIPE Networks can seek reconsideration of the ACMA’s decision.
‘We expect to see more and denser deployments of small cells as demand for mobile services increases and as 5G networks are built’, said Ms O’Loughlin.
The ACMA recently registered a revised version of the code which includes new, tailored consultation provisions dealing specifically with the deployment of small cells. These provisions are better suited to the rollout of small, rather than large infrastructure.
The new code also contains provisions that enable community consultations about mobile base stations to use digital communication channels, such as social media and email.
‘The ACMA will closely monitor the deployment of small cells to ensure communities are consulted in line with the new version of the Code, and to identify any new concerns’, said Ms O’Loughlin.