The Australian government has set new rules that would require new housing development of 50 house lots or more to provide mobile connectivity as a utility.

Gigi Onag, Senior Editor, APAC

February 26, 2024

2 Min Read
Melbourne house R Architecture on Unsplash
(Source: R Architecture on Unsplash)

The Australian government has set new rules that would improve mobile coverage in new housing developments of 50 house lots or more.

The new rules in the amended Telecommunications in New Developments (TIND) policy were issued on February 17 to reflect existing expectations about access to essential utilities – water, electricity and fixed line telecommunications services – in new housing developments, highlighting the critical importance of mobile connectivity for modern life.

"In 2024, mobile coverage is just as important as electricity and running water," said Australia's Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland. "It's unacceptable that Australians are moving into new housing developments and don't have access to decent coverage on moving day."

The TIND policy informs steps to be taken by the country's states and territories to strengthen their planning regulations.

The rules, if implemented by states and territories, would mean developers, mobile network operators and mobile network infrastructure providers need to engage with each other as early as possible on mobile connectivity and coverage solutions for new housing developments with more than 50 lots.

Early engagement

The changes also emphasize to mobile network operators and mobile network infrastructure providers the benefits in engaging earlier in the rezoning and planning process with land planning agencies.

Furthermore, the new rules set expectations that developers will:

  • Consider mobile connectivity as part of the overall development application process, with a similar level of importance as other utilities

  • Engage with a carrier as early as possible to ensure mobile coverage is in place prior to the selling or leasing of a building unit

  • Identify appropriate sites, or spaces, for mobile infrastructure to be deployed

  • Make all reasonable efforts to reach "fair terms" in land access agreements

"These new guidelines will help bring mobile coverage into the national planning framework and provide clear guidance to property developers about the importance of mobile coverage," said Rowland.

In addition to expanding the scope to include mobile connectivity, other changes to the TIND policy include updates to clarify that developers building multi-unit buildings should also provide for in-building pathways where cabling is required and allow NBN Co to spread backhaul costs across different developments in the area.

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About the Author(s)

Gigi Onag

Senior Editor, APAC, Light Reading

Gigi Onag is Senior Editor, APAC, Light Reading. She has been a technology journalist for more than 15 years, covering various aspects of enterprise IT across Asia Pacific.

She started with regional IT publications under CMP Asia (now Informa), including Asia Computer Weekly, Intelligent Enterprise Asia and Network Computing Asia and Teledotcom Asia. This was followed by stints with Computerworld Hong Kong and sister publications FutureIoT and FutureCIO. She had contributed articles to South China Morning Post, TechTarget and PC Market among others.

She interspersed her career as a technology editor with a brief sojourn into public relations before returning to journalism joining the editorial team of Mix Magazine, a MICE publication and its sister publication Business Traveller Asia Pacific.

Gigi is based in Hong Kong and is keen to delve deeper into the region’s wide wild world of telecoms.

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