Telco giant, Telstra has been slapped with a formal warning from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), after failing to consult with the public over mobile phone base station installations.
Under the rules outlined in the Mobile Phone Base Station Deployment Industry Code, telco’s are required to provide local councils and their communities with the opportunity to have a say, prior to setting up the infrastructure.
“Telcos must keep affected communities in the loop and consider their feedback when establishing or upgrading mobile phone base stations,” ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin said.
In this instance, Telstra was caught out contravening the deployment code rules after a resident lodged a complaint. Upon the ACMA’s investigation, it discovered Telstra didn’t fully comply with its consultation plan, whereby the telco is required to contact residents in the vicinity of the base station; not sending letters containing information to all interested and affected parties; and not acknowledging a written complaint within 10 business days of receiving it.
As a result, the telco has now taken steps to avoid problems in the future, and is reviewing its contractor complaints handling procedures and implementing regular training.
"Consulting with local communities on new mobile towers is an important step in expanding our coverage and we didn’t get that right this time," a Telstra spokesperson said. "We’ve looked at where we fell short of what’s expected and we’ll make sure we get it right next time."
In April, Telstra revealed a $13 million investment to improve mobile network coverage for commuters travelling from Hornsby to Wyong, along the Central Coast in NSW.
The "joint venture" will cost a total $25 million, following the $12 million contract awarded to Telstra by Sydney and NSW Trains on 22 March.
A new mobile infrastructure will be built on the Central Coast rail corridor covering 68km of train tracks, and will also deliver Wi-Fi at train stations along the rail corridor.