Summer Hill group queries NBN tower’s value

RESIDENTS at Summer Hill can not fathom why the government would consider building an NBN tower at Spring Glen Road which will face in the opposite direction of some residents and be of no use to them. 

Cabonne Council confirmed it had received a development application for a $187,000 tower at Summer Hill Creek, about 15km north-west of Orange, on Spring Glen Road, but staff were considering the proposal. 

Resident Jim Swanson said a group of concerned residents had contacted member for Calare John Cobb’s office and the company responsible for establishing the tower, Erisson NBN, to raise their concerns.

Mr Swanson said the group, which represented about 30 houses which he believes will be excluded from the coverage, were told they would have to wait up to three years to be connected to the NBN via satellite.

“It’s only a few hundred metres from my property, but the hill will block the signal,” he said. 

A spokesperson from NBN Co downplayed Mr Swanson’s concerns and said the proposed location of the facility is 40 metres higher than the ridgeline, and as such, would provide the best possible coverage footprint for the area.

But Mr Swanson was adamant some 30 homes would not be included in the coverage and NBN Co did not answer whether Mr Swanson’s understanding was correct. 

NBN fixed wireless facilities are sited to achieve optimal coverage to the greatest number of premises and topographical constraints are taken into account when planning service coverage, the statement from NBN Co said. 

What is not clear, however, is how many homes the tower would service and whether it was more than the 30 homes which will miss out.

A spokesperson for Mr Cobb said the towers around Orange presented a range of challenges in terms of attempting to provide coverage to the maximum number of homes within the building constraints.

“NBN Co undertakes a thorough analysis of potential site alternatives and during this process attempts to select the most appropriate and optimal site solution balancing the required coverage objectives, the surrounding landscape and community need,” the statement said. 

“NBN Co intends to have this new satellite service available for the second half of 2015, and installation will be free when a service is ordered through a retail service provider in the same way the fixed wireless equipment is installed free of charge when a service is ordered.”

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