Sky Tower will serve useful communications purpose

It won't all be revolving restaurants and viewing decks at Auckland's Sky Tower. The tower has also been designed as a parking space for broadcasting and telecommunications equipment.

It won't all be revolving restaurants and viewing decks at Auckland's Sky Tower. The tower has also been designed as a parking space for broadcasting and telecommunications equipment.

In fact, the height of the structure (236m), was dictated by what it would take to get maximum coverage for Auckland.

When the tower opens in the middle of next year it will have six floors set aside for broadcast equipment and the top 90m will consist of a communications mast to accommodate VHF, UHF, AM and FM broadcasting antennae. The new site will give enhanced performance and range for radio telephones, paging systems and microwave distribution systems but will not suit cellular or satellite technology.

Sky City development manager Bryce Morrin says two anonymous customers have signed up for a place on the Sky Tower but he predicts it will take three to five years to optimise revenues from telecommunications licences. Revenues then are forecast at about $5 million a year.

"We'll see a surge at the beginning but a lot of people will stay where they are simply because they already have a lease.

"Once they don't have to pay rent twice they will maybe think about coming to us."

Costs will adhere to market rates unless being on the Sky Tower brings a significant benefit over other sites.

Areas which should get improved coverage are Remuera/Orakei, Newmarket, Mt Eden, the eastern suburbs and some North Shore areas.

Television broadcasters will require fewer local translators to provide an adequate signal to "shaded" areas (areas that get reduced coverage) resulting in savings in capital expenditure and operating costs.

Auckland telecommunications engineers Johnston Dick and Associates (JDA) have consulted on the telecommunications aspects of construction and will oversee new installations and the operation of the service when it opens.

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