AMTA lays the foundations for inclusion of Mobile in the Telecommunications in New Developments Policy (TIND)

Mobile network operators and infrastructure providers confront significant challenges when seeking to provide new and augmented mobile services into the growth areas of Australia’s capital cities and regional centres. Siting of new towers in large emerging residential growth areas can be a challenge when no obvious location has been identified during strategic town planning for these new areas. Other factors frustrating provision of infrastructure include the ability to secure a lease in a timely manner and on reasonable terms, the lack of clarity due to delays in councils finalising Precinct Structure Plans (PSPs), and then the absence of any guidance in PSPs about suitable types of siting solutions for mobile infrastructure.

Image of a house being built in a sparse, new suburb

Photo by Avel Chuklanov on Unsplash

In response, AMTA has welcomed Minister Rowland’s release of a revised TIND policy in February 2024, expanding the scope from the provision of fixed voice and broadband services to include the need for developers to engage in the strategic planning process so that opportunities for mobile infrastructure including towers can be included. Under the new rules, all new housing developments of 50 house lots or more should include consideration of mobile coverage during planning processes. The changes place expectations on developers to actively consider the inclusion of mobile infrastructure in new developments to help ensure residents have access to a reliable mobile service in a timely manner.

AMTA has been engaging with the Government from the outset and contributed constructive suggestions regarding how the TIND could include mobile in addition to fixed. Feedback in AMTA’s submission has been factored in, including the need for information sharing between developers and the industry and recognition that developers will need to engage with Mobile Network Operators and Mobile Network Infrastructure providers.  Outstanding matters that still require some clarity include arrangements for inclusion of fibre infrastructure for mobile site backhaul into the strategic planning process and the need to use land for mobile infrastructure not in the control of developers such as Crown land and land owned by councils.

The Government has committed to continuing to engage on these and other matters through the outcomes of the Mobile Telecommunications Working Group, and AMTA will monitor and contribute to implementation.