New rules set to improve mobile coverage in new housing developments

Australians expect they will have access to a reliable mobile service regardless of where they live.

The changes to the Telecommunications in New Development (TIND) policy place an expectation on developers to actively consider the inclusion of mobile coverage in planning for new developments, in a similar way as other essential utilities – such as water and electricity – are currently considered.

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

For mobile connectivity, this includes new 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 changes 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 developments with more than 50 lots, immaterial of whether the project will be implemented in stages.

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 provision in-building including pathways where cabling is required, and to allow NBN Co to spread backhaul costs across different developments in the area. The new changes follow public consultation in late 2023.

These changes are one of the first steps in the Australian Government’s plan to improve mobile connectivity in new developments and growth areas.

For more information