Residents condemn new site of NBN tower
A GROUP of Rosebank and Repentance Creek residents have called on NBN Co to halt the rollout of a planned communications tower in their area, following concerns over patchy reception and other issues.
The proposed tower site at 191 Rosebank Rd is the second proposed location after the first one, which virtually overlooked the Rosebank hamlet, was overwhelmingly opposed by the local community.
The new site is also proving unpopular.
Steve Davies of the Rosebank NBN Action Group said the tower, scheduled for construction later this year, is shaping up to be a "white elephant" because of how many homes in the hilly, heavily treed area were at risk of getting poor reception.
"NBN have themselves given a diagram that if you have a tree between yourself and the tower, you don't get proper reception," Mr Davies said.
"It seems like a scandalous waste of money, there's been no cost-benefit analysis done to compare other options of delivery."
Mr Davies said Rosebank already had a fibre exchange on the corner of Dunoon Rd which passed through half the communities in Rosebank, but it was owned by Telstra.
He also labelled NBN Co's attempts at consultation "tokenistic", with the tower presented as a "fait accompli" for the area.
Mr Davies said 95% of those who attended an NBN meeting in April held to discuss the new site had raised their hands in opposition to the proposal.
He said NBN Co and Visionstream representatives had "flatly refused" to formally record the opposition.
"Only a very few people would benefit from this. People are going to have a solution foisted on them that they don't want," Mr Davies said.
"This is a good time to reconsider what our options are."
NBN Co community relations adviser Tony Gibbs said an ongoing "open and transparent" community consultation about the site had determined the new location.
He said hand-delivered notifications were delivered to people living within 2km of the site.
At an earlier community feedback session on the new site in February, 25 people had supported the tower going ahead.
"The objective is to provide a solution for the Rosebank community, if they cannot receive a signal they would then go on to our satellite solution, available in 2015," Mr Gibbs said.
Also at stake for NBN Co is the entire network of fixed wireless towers which form a "daisy chain" up the rural east coast designed to convey the NBN signal from urban fibre-filled areas to the wireless regions.