Permission has been granted for 10 more cellphone towers to be built in South Canterbury.
The Timaru District Council (TDC) has given land-use consent to cellphone provider 2degrees, which plans to develop its network by installing equipment at various South Canterbury sites.
2degrees spokesperson Charlene White said the project was part of a major initiative to build a 2degrees network across New Zealand as the demand for mobile services and the use of smartphones and other mobile devices grows.
The company is three years old and has one million customers nationwide.
"It's grown pretty rapidly over the last few years, hence why we need to build a network.
"When choosing locations for our equipment, we always try to select and design a site that will provide the best coverage possible but have the least amount of impact on the community and the environment."
She said that in most cases, 2degrees had tried to find private land or rooftops, reserves, industrial areas or commercial land to build on before considering residential locations.
"And when we do build there, we do our best to ensure the site fits within the local streetscape," she said.
The company was committed to informing the public of its plans, and would make contact with people in the "direct area" before work begins.
Mrs White said the equipment the company used was safe and fully complied with the stringent standards set by the New Zealand Ministry of Health.
She said the consensus of "international scientific opinion" was that mobile phone sites were safe if operated within approved safety standards.
The National Radiation Laboratory regularly tests mobile phone sites around the country to monitor radio frequency levels and to ensure all mobile network operators continue to meet the relevant standards for radio frequency emissions, she said.
Telecom declined to disclose the locations of its cellphone towers in South Canterbury, or how many it had in the district.
A spokesperson said this was "commercially sensitive information".
Vodafone did not respond to the same questions, although a spokesperson said the company was working on getting those details for The Timaru Herald.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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