Changes in Cell Tower Rules

The Federal Government has announced new rules that telecommunication companies will need to meet when locating cell towers.

The new requirements are intended increase transparency by ensuring that municipalities are notified regarding the proposed siting of all cell towers; local residents are given an opportunity to provide input; and communications are improved throughout the siting process.

Under the new rules a company will be required to:

  • consult on all commercial tower installations, regardless of height. Previously a company was only required to consult with local residents when it was planning to build a tower higher than 15 metres.
  • establish a three year limit between the time of consultation and the time the tower is built; and
  • ensure that local residents are informed about consultations on plans to build a cell tower in their area by requiring the company to notify them directly.

The Federal government intends to introduce new online measures so that the public will be able to monitor the process and track the status of applications for new cell towers. The industry will be encouraged to cooperate with local government early on in the process, using the recently launched Antenna System Siting Protocol Template developed by the FCM.

Telecommunication companies wanting to build a new tower will be required to look at sharing an existing tower or using an existing structure for its antenna before applying to build a new tower.

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