Mobile phone towers
Mobile phone services are available in urban areas, many regional areas, and along national and regional highways. Mobile phone services currently reach 99 per cent of the Australian population. Satellite mobile phone services cover 100 per cent of the Australian landmass and population.
An Australian Government initiative, the Mobile Black Spot Programme, is extending coverage to black spots (areas without coverage) that were identified by individuals, organisations, community groups, local, state and territory governments and Federal Members of Parliament.
Mobile phone towers
Mobile phone towers are regulated under the Telecommunications Act 1997.
Installation of free-standing mobile phone towers, must comply with relevant state and territory planning laws.
Installation of towers that are classified as low-impact facilities under the Low Impact Facilities Determination, such as smaller antennae attached to an existing structure, are exempt from state and territory planning laws.
Electromagnetic Energy Emissions
The Australian Government regulates the community’s exposure to electromagnetic emissions from all radiocommunications facilities, including mobile phone towers.
The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) sets exposure limits, following guidelines published by the International Commission for Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). Radiotransmitters and mobile phone towers operate at a level that is well below the limits set for exposure to electromagnetic emissions.
We have worked with ARPANSA and the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), to create some information resources to explain this:
- Electromagnetic energy (EME) and you
- EME Factsheet for Schools and Parents (PDF, 176.5 KB)
- EME Factsheet for Schools and Parents (DOC, 253.5 KB)
- Fact sheet for Communities (PDF, 276.7 KB)
- Fact sheet for Communities (DOC, 250.5 KB)
Before building any new structures, including new base stations, mobile phone towers and low-impact structures, mobile phone companies must:
- Consult with communities first (the Communications Alliance industry code C564:2011 Mobile Phone Base Station Deployment)
- Produce an environmental EME report for new or upgraded mobile phone base station—the reports are published at the Radio Frequency National Site Archive.
- Meet any licensing conditions imposed by ACMA: ACMA register of radiocommunications licences search page
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