Antenna Siting Protocol Established

With more than 26 million Canadians operating a mobile phone or wireless device, traffic on some Canadian mobile networks is growing by 5% every week.  This growing demand for wireless connectivity has often resulted in conflicts between local governments and proponents looking to locate antenna systems within communities, and was the focus of one of the workshops at the 2012 UBCM Convention. 

On February 28th, FCM and the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) announced that a joint protocol has been reached for the siting process of wireless antenna systems.  FCM President Karen Leibovici stated:  “The purpose of the protocol is to ensure there is notification and meaningful local consultation on the location and visual aesthetics of antenna systems before they are installed, and that Canadians continue to have access to the wireless services they need to support their businesses and stay connected with their families.”

The Joint Antenna System Siting Protocol establishes a more comprehensive notification and consultation process than current regulations, and emphasizes the need for meaningful pre-consultation to ensure local land use priorities and sensitivities are fully reflected in the location and design of new antenna systems. Telecommunications carriers have agreed for the first time to notify municipalities of all antennas being installed before their construction, regardless of height, and to undertake full public consultation for towers under 15 meters—whenever deemed necessary by the municipality.

Protocol templates have been prepared that local governments can adapt to specify their local requirements such as preferred and discouraged locations, and design preferences like buffering and screening, structure and height.

The commitment reached between FCM and CWTA marks a significant improvement over consultation requirements that are presently outlined within Industry Canada regulations.

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