Proponents and their consultants undertake a range of investigations when identifying and assessing proposed sites for antenna systems. These investigations include consideration of the potential visual effect of the proposed base station. However, it appears that currently there is no transparent, structured process which documents and assesses the surrounding environment of a proposed site for a antenna system and assists with determining how the antenna system should be designed to respond to this context. It is acknowledged that this process is undertaken intuitively by planners during the site acquisition process.
The Antenna Siting Design Framework can be integrated into current site acquisition processes and does not replace any of the current practices undertaken by Proponents. It does not replace existing information gathering, consultation and assessment processes, but rather provides an additional layer of information that can be fed into the site acquisition process and assist in the design of antenna system sites for construction. In addition, the ASDF provides the opportunity to review antenna systems once constructed to determine their “visibility” and enables Proponents to review and evaluate the designs of individual sites once constructed.
It is recognized that there are a range of other objectives that influence site selection including the availability of land, requirements of the landowner, occupational health and safety, cost, access for maintenance purposes, construction issues and radio frequency requirements such as coverage objectives, capacity, network design constraints, line of sight and height of surrounding building, trees and other structures.
The Antenna Siting Design Framework can be used to meet some of these objectives. For example, negotiations with a landowner who takes a particular interest in the compatibility of the design with the property can be supported through the use of the ASDF during the negotiation process.
The Antenna Siting Design Framework can be used at any stage of the site acquisition process, but it is anticipated that it will be most useful, cost effective and time efficient once a preferred site candidate is confirmed having regard to all the other factors that influence the site selection process.