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Telco rights to enter property

Telcos install and maintain network facilities to give Australians phone and internet services.

Some telcos have special rights to access properties and install network facilities.

When a telco can enter property

The law gives telcos some special rights to access properties when they need to work on network facilities. This includes work on:

Work on a low-impact facility

We do not decide if the facility a telco plans to install is low-impact.

The Telecommunications (Low-impact Facilities) Determination 2018 lists low-impact facilities.

They are generally phone and internet network structures that blend with their surrounds. Low-impact facilities include:

  • small antennae or dishes
  • underground and above ground structures that protect equipment
  • underground cables
  • public pay phones
  • equipment in buildings to help subscribers connect to the internet
  • equipment on structures that already exist such as buildings, poles or towers

NBN low-impact facilities

NBN low-impact facilities with equipment including cabling found in, or on:

  • underground pits
  • power poles
  • an NBN node - a cabinet with equipment on the nature strip

What licensed telcos can do

Licensed telcos have the right to go onto your property to maintain a network facility.

These rules are in the Telecommunications Code of Practice 2021.

We keep a full list of licensed telcos.

If other telcos or phone and internet service providers want access to your property they will need to get you to agree.

Telcos do not need to get a local council or state or territory government to approve their plans to work on your property.

Telcos need government approval to install:

  • a facility that is not a low-impact facility such as a free-standing mobile phone pole or tower
  • on an area of environmental significance

Notify property owners

Generally, before they go onto your property telcos must notify you and anyone who occupies the property.

They must write to you at least 10 business days before they do anything.

They must tell you:

  • the dates they will access your property
  • what they are going to do
  • that they must compensate you if they cause damage or you suffer financial loss
  • how to object if you wish to

Sometimes a telco only has to notify you within 2 days from the date they want access, for example when they only want to inspect property.

There are also times when a telco does not have to notify you, for example, when:

  • they need emergency access for the health and safety of people, the environment or the property
  • to maintain an adequate level of service

Other ways to notify you

You can ask a telco to use other ways to notify you, such as by:

  • email
  • telephone
  • in person

You must first write to the telco to ask them to change the way they notify you.

While on your property

While they are on your property, telcos must take all reasonable steps to:

  • do as little damage as is practicable
  • restore the property as close as possible to its original condition
  • restore your property within 10 days after finishing their work unless you or the occupier of the property agree to a different timeframe
  • use good engineering practice
  • protect people and property
  • protect the environment
  • follow state, territory or local government rules for noise

They must also take reasonable steps not to interfere with:

  • traffic
  • water service
  • gas service
  • electrical service
  • sewerage service
  • public roads and paths
  • land use

Their work on the facility must follow best practice. This includes the steps they take to:

  • design
  • plan
  • locate
  • install

These rules are in the Telecommunications Code of Practice 2021.

You can complain if you think the telco breaks these rules. 

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