Height restriction could stop Telstra from deploying emergency mobile cell towers

Height restriction could stop Telstra from deploying emergency mobile cell towers

Australia’s biggest telco is concerned that new rules might actually stop it from deploying infrastructure in case of emergency

New planning regulations that were designed to make it easier to get emergency mobile communications services could actually stop Telstra from deploying its cell towers on wheels due to a height restriction.

As ITNews reports, the nation’s biggest telco is concerned that new rules and legislation that were actually designed to make it easier to deploy infrastructure in case of emergency – such as the bushfires that ravaged much of the nation over the Christmas period – might actually stop the carrier from being able to do just that.

The Telecommunications (Low impact Facilities) Determination drafts call for new rules around the deployment of emergency facilities.

The new proposed rules should make it easier for telcos to deploy temporary facilities without having to step through levels of local red tape, as long as the actual facility met the criteria of being “low impact”.

However, as Telstra notes, new rules around the height of temporary facilities would not mesh well with its existing Cell on Wheels (CoW) trailers, and particularly their antenna masts which work on a pump-up basis.

The new rules would prohibit Telstra from deploying a CoW as well as an extensible tower antenna, and the whole setup would have to fit into a maximum height of 5 metres.

ITNews quotes a Telstra spokesperson as saying, Telstra is concerned that the prohibition of a temporary tower (incorporated with a temporary above ground facility) … and the height limit … has an unintended consequence of prohibiting the use of a Cell on Wheels (CoW). Having applied the proposed amendments to case studies, it appears that the Telstra CoW … would not be permitted … as its built-in pump up mast is incorporated into a temporary above ground facility.

In addition, the CoW’s temporary antennas located at the top of the pump-up mast exceed five metres above ground, so do not comply with the height limit, the spokesperson said.

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