• 16 MAR 12
    • 2

    Smart meter WiMax towers in Australia conveniently avoid all planning requirements

    12 March 2012 was the deadline for submissions for a Senate Bill proposed by Senator Bob Brown. Titled the Telecommunications Amendment (Mobile Phone Towers) Bill 2011, it proposes to give the community and local governments more say in the siting of mobile phone towers. See the various submissions here.

    Unfortunately after all this work, along comes large smart meter towers that, because they are defined an “essential service” under the Telecommunications and Electricity Industry Acts, no planning permits are needed. My understanding is that as an “essential service”, neither the public nor local governments have any say where these towers will be located. Watch for “high impact” (visual impact) WiMax smart meter towers springing up all over the place. No need to be concerned, however, because “SP AusNet conducts a comprehensive site selection and design process to identify the most appropriate location for each WiMax base station”. For some reason I am not assured by this statement…..

    Never to miss an opportunity, now watch telecommunications providers line up to co-locate their mobile phone antennas on smart meter towers and therefore sidestep any need to consult at all with pesky local governments and communities.

    Don

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    From No Smart Meters Australia:

    High-tech eyesores blot suburban landscapes | Herald Sun
    Posted on March 15, 2012

    HUGE smart-meter towers being built in parts of Melbourne are distressing residents and councils powerless to stop them.

    Electricity company SP AusNet, which insists radio frequencies emitted from the structures are safe, has constructed eight “monopoles” 30-40m high. More sites are being assessed.

    Knox City Council’s Angelo Kourambas said riled residents living nearby were mainly concerned about the “visual blight” of the towers.

    “They stick out like the proverbial,” Mr Kourambas said.

    Planning permits are not needed as they are an essential service under the Telecommunications and Electricity Industry Acts.

    The towers transmit digital meter data in a similar way to mobile telephone technology.

    SP AusNet, which services 640,000 customers in eastern Victoria, is erecting the structures to support a wireless system known as WiMax.

    Other distributors said they did not need to build separate towers, as they were using different technology.

    Monopoles constructed over the past three years are at a Rowville shopping centre carpark, a VicRoads reserve in Greensborough, and within power sub-stations in Croydon, Boronia, Bayswater North, Ringwood North, Ferntree Gully and Pakenham North.

    Antennas or radio equipment have instead been attached to existing poles such as high-voltage and telco towers at another 11 locations.

    The company said smart-meter communications equipment was only installed in residential zones when industrial areas were unsuitable.

    Maximum radiofrequency exposure was less than 1 per cent of the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency’s allowable limit.

    “‘SP AusNet conducts a comprehensive site selection and design process to identify the most appropriate location for each WiMax base station to provide the most effective communications coverage in the area and to minimise the impact on local communities,” the company said in a statement.

    collierk@heraldsun.com.au

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