Community feedback is being invited on the installation of a proposed new mobile telecommunications tower at Emerald Hill – one of several sites across the Gunnedah region undergoing network improvements.

Field Solutions Group proposes to install the network base station in the form of four sector antennas onto a new 45m high lattice tower located at 795 Goolhi Road, north west of Gunnedah.

In siting the proposed facility, the carrier confirmed there were no alternative sites that met elevation, transmission and structural requirements.

It also confirmed the facility will comply with Australian government regulations in relation to emission of electromagnetic energy.

The proposal is considered complying development under Schedule 4 of the State Environmental Planning Policy (Transport & Infrastructure) 2021 and did not require development consent from local council.

The developer said a notification was sent to council, owners, occupiers, managers and interested and affected parties detailing the carrier’s proposed intention at this premises.

The proposed site – funded under round 1 of the federal government’s Regional Connectivity Program (RCP) – was one of a network of new sites to provide quality mobile coverage to the regional area that was previously inadequate.

The project was first announced in 2021 by Member for Parkes Mark Coulton.

At the time, Mr Coulton was serving as the then-Regional Communications Minister in the Coalition government.

He said the RCP was designed to deliver place-based solutions that solve rural connectivity issues.

“We’re doing things differently and looking at a range of innovative approaches to ensure we fill the gaps in blackspot areas across the country,” the-then Minister Coulton said.

In 2021, the government provided $3.9 million in funding to Field Solutions Group (FSG) to deliver new mobile infrastructure in Gunnedah.

FSG, an Australian-based telecommunication company servicing rural, regional and remote areas, said although “significant progress” had been made, the infrastructure roll out had been hampered by weather delays.

“The teams continue to face build challenges due to the wild weather and excessive heat,” the company said. “The impacts of rain can lead to weeks of delays in building activities, with water pooling a real issue.”

The multi-million dollar funding package was to provide 10 greenfield 45 metre towers and two co-locations in the Gunnedah region.

The project would deploy a fixed wireless network in the Gunnedah shire and to neighbouring areas in the Liverpool Plains and Tamworth Regional shires.

The expanded network would also extend high-speed broadband connectivity into areas with limited existing coverage, enabling the uptake of new agricultural and business technologies in a high-value cotton, beef and broadacre cropping region and improving access to telehealth and education services.

Other sites in the Gunnedah region planned for upgrades include “Kelvin North, Governor Mountain, Somerton, Breeza, Pine Ridge, Caroona and Spring Ridge”.

Meanwhile the mobile telecommunications upgrade at “Porcupine Hill” is almost nearing completion.

According to an update by Field Solutions Group, the Apex Road site design was complete and site acquisition was underway. Also complete was the power assessment and public notification.

The company said the geotech was planned and construction plan was in progress including removal of existing lightweight lattice tower.

The indicative roll out for the Porcupine Hill infrastructure was June 2024.

To order photos from this page click here