NBN contractors file fixed wireless plans

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NBN contractors file fixed wireless plans

Build, lease costs begin to surface.

NBN Co contractors have offered glimpses into the costs of rolling out the operator's fixed wireless network in planning documents lodged with local councils.

According to a development application (DA) lodged by Aps Pty Ltd with Tamworth Regional Council on December 9, an NBN base station at Moore Creek in NSW will cost about $200,000.

Aps said in the brief filing that it is acting for 'NBN Company Ltd'.

Another firm, Daly International, has been retained by Ericsson Australia to "undertake preliminary environmental, design and site acquisition investigations" in other locations earmarked for NBN fixed wireless.

Ericsson is the $1.1 billion prime contractor appointed by NBN Co to roll out the fixed wireless network (although it has since sub-contracted construction work out to Visionstream).

Daly International has filed preliminary 'heads of terms' agreements with at least two councils in Western Australia.

In a filing with the Shire of Gingin, Daly sought to install equipment on a council-owned mast at Nilgen and construct a "ground-based equipment shelter" of up to 50 square metres.

Daly offered the shire a rent of $4,000 a year, excluding GST, for a 20-year lease term. Rent reviews were to be indexed to the consumer price index (CPI).

The council mast hosts an existing Telstra base station under an agreement brokered in 2003. Telstra initially paid $2,000 a year with rent increases of 3 percent a year. The rent is for the mast only.

Planning staff at the shire recommended that an "independent commercial valuation" be undertaken "to establish that the amount being offered [by Daly] is correct market value".

The motion was carried 10-0 at a council meeting on December 20, according to minutes.

If the valuation is deemed acceptable, the council and Daly International will agree to a 'heads of terms' offer, to be submitted to NBN Co.

"If NBN are content, we can then look to create design drawings and lodge a development application before progressing to lease," Daly International site acquisition representative Keilan Powell noted in a letter to council dated December 7.

Daly hoped to strike a similar agreement with the Shire of Mingenew, some 270km north of Nilgen.

There, it hoped to secure ten square metres of land to construct a new telecommunications tower to host NBN Co's fixed wireless equipment.

Although no lease figure is discussed in public documents, council appears hopeful that an NBN tower will bring better mobile phone coverage to the area, should a lease be granted.

"The tower itself is suitable for the installation of mobile telephone equipment and ... the very fact that this infrastructure will already be in place may entice a mobile phone carrier to install their own equipment or alternatively make it significantly cheaper if Council was to organises the installation," the shire said in meeting minutes.

Daly International appeared to be making similar advances on proposed tower sites in Victoria.

Posts on Whirlpool indicated that community consultation had started in Smeaton, which lies within the Ballarat coverage area for fixed wireless.

A report by The Courier said that one couple had been offered $8000 a year to host an NBN tower on their land, but they declined.

Residents of Buninyong were also being fighting a planned NBN Co tower in their area.

NBN Co will require up to 120 new and co-located towers to deploy fixed wireless services in the first five regions to receive the network.

Construction in Geraldton, Toowoomba, Tamworth, Ballarat and Darwin is due to begin in the middle of this year.

Between 14,000 and 20,000 homes would receive fixed wireless services in this first wave of construction.

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