Vodafone has scrapped a plan to place transmission towers in Rochester.By Elaine Cooney
Vodafone will no longer place transmission towers on the Moore St silos in Rochester as planned last year.
The company signed a deal with Optus to use their existing infrastructure and began trialling the system in May.
Vodafone spokesperson Elise Davidson said the joint venture would help Optus and Vodafone compete with Telstra, which has the main stake in the mobile phone industry.
Ms Davidson said the company hoped to be operating near the Rochester district by the end of July.
‘‘Customers living in Rochester and those who visit can expect improved mobile coverage in the near future,’’ she said.
Former Rochester Chamber of Commerce president Leigh Wilson was excited to learn a third mobile phone provider would be coming to Rochester.
‘‘I hope it will lead to more competition and cheaper phone bills,’’ he said.
When the planning permission for the Moore St antennae was sent out to the public in March last year, the company faced opposition from families and business owners near the site.
While Vodaphone has taken steps to assure residents all their terminals and base station transmitters meet the ARPANSA standard (RPS3) with regards to electromagnetic energy, some residents were still concerned about the unknown risks associated with electromagnetic energy.
Railway Rd resident Bryan McDougal said he was happy the antennae would not be erected on the silos across from his house.
With seven children
He saw workers patching up the windows on the silos last week and assumed the project was going ahead.
Parsons Clothing owner Gail Metcalf was concerned about the health impact of the antennae because her husband died from a strain of cancer she believes was accelerated by electromagnetic emissions.
She was uncomfortable with the proposed antennae site’s proximity to the kindergarten.
‘‘The less of those things (transmitters) the better,’’ she said.
‘‘I hope that is the end of it.’’
Helen and Peter Holzer from the Rochester Post Office, among the business owners who lodged a formal complaint with Vodafone, said the decision not to erect towers behind their business was an ‘‘excellent result’’.
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