TSTT Welcomes Government Action on cell towers

July 2006

TSTT is reassured by the attention being given to the issue of  cellular tower construction in Trinidad and Tobago. This signal is a most welcomed change from the apparent hiatus Town and Country Planning Division (T&CPD) seems to have been on for the past 2-3 years while TSTT lodged application after application with them but got no response, because a policy was still being developed. 

According to TSTT’s COO Mr Bernard Mitchell “the Company found itself in a very difficult position.   All stakeholders, particularly customers were rightly demanding a world class mobile service that supported national development objectives, and at the same time  the cell tower planning policy was being developed and applications were not being processed”  He added further that given the disadvantageous spectrum allocation granted to TSTT, the company needed to have more cellular towers in order to achieve effective nationwide coverage”. 

TSTT therefore proceeded with the building of its network while still submitting applications for approval. This decision benefitted countless tens of thousands of citizens who used mobile communications to improve the responsiveness of emergency and protective services to their calls for help, improve their business administration and efficiency and better communicate among their family and social circles. 

TSTT remains committed to working with T&CPD to ensure that the public health and safety is kept at the forefront in the development of a policy for the erecting of cell towers. Indeed, even in the absence of the policy TSTT self-regulated the operating parameters for its cell towers and has successfully ensured that its radio frequency emissions are as much as one thousand times lower than the recommended level of emissions   of the   International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), an international organization that has established levels for radio emissions for public safety, stricter than those of the FCC and other regulatory bodies.

The T&CPD cell tower policy eventually came into effect in May 2006, after many, many different drafts and amendments. The policy is a satisfactory guideline with remedies for both the state and service providers. As such TSTT will continue to work with the Town and Country Planning Division to ensure to the best of its ability that cellular towers comply with the new policy.

TSTT remains hopeful that the considerable resources of the Government including the Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago will also be brought to bear on the issue of tower co-location which would address some of the concerns enunciated in the Policy. While TSTT and Laqtel have successfully completed bilateral agreements on this, since October 2005 TSTT has been pursuing co-location with Digicel and has to date not been able to conclude arrangements.

TSTT will continue to work in the best interest of the country and the company remains committed to open collaboration with the relevant authorities and community stakeholders to ensure that its operations gives more people the opportunity for a better quality of life.