Outcry sparks tower rethink

AFTER a community outcry greeted the first proposed location of its Rosebank tower, NBN Co has advertised plans for an alternative site, 2.5km north of Rosebank village.

NBN Co community relations adviser Tony Gibb said based on the feedback from about 25 residents at a community consultation in February, there was "overwhelming support" for the new location.

The 30-metre high tower would sit halfway between Rosebank hamlet and Repentance Creek Hall, on the north side of Repentance Creek Rd between Fox Rd and Emerson Rd.

The facility is expected to become operational by the end of 2015.

All NBN towers are dependent on linkages to other towers in the fixed wireless network, creating a "daisy chain" effect which links the tower network to a fibre network at each end.

Mr Gibb said since opting not to proceed with the original location (which was less than 100m from the Rosebank hamlet) NBN Co had improved their consultation process, advertising in the local newsletter, the Village Voice, and sending residents personal invitations to attend consultation sessions.

"As far as the engagement goes to date, it has certainly been very open and transparent with the community because we've sought their feedback," he said.

Mr Gibb said he expected the "vast majority" of Rosebank to have access to the service but those who didn't would get a satellite service, also available in 2015.

But the tower was labelled the "wrong technology for the wrong terrain" by North Coast NBN Tower Action Group spokesman Dane Webb.

Mr Webb said fixed wireless towers would only be suitable "in a paddock" with flat terrain and allowing all residents "line of sight".

"If there's no line of sight, you're not going to get the advertised speeds," Mr Webb said.

"As soon as you have fog, rain, trees in the way, or a flock of birds, that speed will deteriorate."

Mr Webb said because Rosebank already had fibre optic cables running through its village, a better solution would be a fibre optic "node", or an ADSL2 digital exchange through the existing phone network.

NBN Co will conduct a community meeting at the site this Saturday starting at 2pm to answer any further questions.