PPS 10: Telecommunications
1.1 Modern telecommunications 1 are an essential and beneficial element in the life of the people of Northern Ireland and of the regional economy. Much of the telephone network is, of course, long established. However, the growth in the mobile communications sector in Northern Ireland over the past 10 years has been remarkable with an estimated 1 million people now registered as mobile phone subscribers. The new communications technology has spread rapidly to meet the growing demand for better communications at home, in business, in public services and in support of electronic commerce.
1.2 The telecommunications industry is passing through a period of rapid expansion, technical innovation and intense competition. These are worldwide trends and Northern Ireland must take account of the changes that are underway to ensure the future social and economic wellbeing of the country.
1.3 It is recognised that the economic and social benefits of advanced telecommunications to Northern Ireland can only be achieved if the necessary infrastructure is developed, including the networks of base stations. However the Department considers that the industry must devote greater attention to the siting and design of equipment. The aim of the PPS is therefore to ensure that new telecommunications infrastructure, such as masts, antennas and associated equipment can be developed in a way which continues to provide Northern Ireland with world class telecommunications services, while at the same time minimising the environmental impact of new or replacement equipment.
1.4 The PPS also addresses health issues associated with telecommunications development in response to the report prepared by the Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones (IEGMP) under the chairmanship of Sir William Stewart which considered the health effects from the use of mobile phones, base stations and transmitters.
1 References to telecommunications throughout the PPS should be read as including all forms of communications by electrical or optical wire and cable and radio signals (whether terrestrial or from satellite), both public and private, except where otherwise stated.