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Pressure on Pipe Networks over telecoms code rules contravention

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Pipe Networks, a subsidiary of telecom services provider TPG, has been ordered by the telecommunications regulator to comply with new rules for small mobile phone base stations (small cells) following two investigations which found the company had contravened code rules.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has warned Pipeworks that if it fails to comply with its direction, it may issue an infringement notice or commence proceedings in the Federal Court.

The ACMA’s direction follows two ACMA investigations where PIPE Networks was found to have contravened code rules:

By failing to provide accurate and up-to-date information to a local council and residents during consultations on a proposed base station deployment By starting work before concluding consultation on the proposed deployment.

The Mobile Phone Base Station Deployment Industry Code aims to ensure mobile telcos consult with local councils and communities before deploying mobile phone infrastructure.

“It’s important for telcos to keep affected communities in the loop and to consider their feedback when deploying new infrastructure”, said ACMA Chair, Nerida O’Loughlin.

“We expect to see more and denser deployments of small cells as demand for mobile services increases and as 5G networks are built,” O’Loughlin said.

The ACMA recently registered a revised version of the code which includes new, tailored consultation provisions dealing specifically with the deployment of small cells, and says these provisions are better suited to the rollout of small, rather than large infrastructure.

The new code also contains provisions that enable community consultations about mobile base stations to use digital communication channels, such as social media and email.

“The ACMA will closely monitor the deployment of small cells to ensure communities are consulted in line with the new version of the Code, and to identify any new concerns’, O’Loughlin said.

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