Future cellphone tower installation to require public consultation

Cellular tower

While many expected that Industry Canada would today announce the outcome of the ongoing 700MHz spectrum auction, the Canadian government instead today unveiled changes to the Antenna Tower Sitting Policy which guides the process by which companies can install cellphone towers. The announcement was made by Industry Minister James Moore.

The policy, dating back to 2008, initially required public consultation only on towers higher than 15 metres. This led to situations where companies erected towers just slightly shorter to bypass this requirement. As a result, residents sometimes felt that they were not given adequate notice or that their concerns were simply ignored. The updated policy addresses these concerns and introduces other changes:

  • Requiring a company to consult on all commercial tower installations, regardless of height
  • Establishing a three-year limit between the time of consultation and the time a tower is built
  • Ensuring residents are well-informed of upcoming consultations by requiring communications from the company to be clearly marked
  • Encouraging municipalities to get involved early in the tower siting process

Companies looking to build a new tower will also need to look at whether they can share an existing tower or use an existing structure instead.

It remains to be seen whether the new policy will make it more difficult for carriers to expand their networks.

Industry Canada also released the infographic below explaining how the process works:

Industry Canada infographic on cell tower placement

And now we return to waiting for the outcome of the 700MHz spectrum auction…

Source : Industry Canada