Globe seeks tighter public-private link-up to hasten rollout of cell towers

Globe Telecom is pushing for cooperation between the government and private sector in implementing policies that will hasten the deployment of cell sites necessary to improve communication services in the country.

The telco said it is crucial that the lack of ICT infrastructure be addressed to ensure efficiency in delivering digital services to the public.

“Globe Telecom calls for heightened collaboration between the public and private sectors in addressing the ICT infrastructure gap in the Philippines. This is to unlock the full potential of the country’s digital economy which is a powerful catalyst and driver of inclusiveness, allowing communities to rise up the value chain,” said Globe chief technology and information officer Gil Genio in a statement on Monday, Jan. 28.

“Infrastructure is the foundation of a highly-connected economy. While there have been significant strides made in Internet availability and reliability, we acknowledge that the Philippines’ ICT infrastructure is not yet on a par with our neighbors. This is why we continue to push for cooperation among all stakeholders, from the public sector down to the barangay level, property developers, and homeowners. Addressing the issues that hamper ICT infrastructure growth is the way to get the Philippines ready for the digital economy,” he added.

Globe said the implementation of Republic Act 11032 or the Ease-of-Doing-Business Act would significantly fast-track the deployment of cell sites across the country.

“There is a mechanism that can be found in order to be able to fast track cell site deployment. The Ease-of-Doing-Business Law in the Philippines, assuming we can get the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) out of the way, promotes transparency in the permitting process. If everything is predictable and consistent across local governments, then we can build and invest much more cell site,” according to Genio.

The telco also called for the amendment of the Local Government Code to expedite the issuance of all local permits for telecommunications facilities and is coordinating with various government agencies to get permits incorporated in the National Building Code so that they are standardized and local government units do not create different requirements.

Globe has long lamented the tedious process in securing permits for the building of cell sites in the country. It estimates that it takes eight months for a telco to have 25 permits before it can build a single cell tower.

For its part, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) assures that it will be implementing measures to expedite the granting of permits for the construction of cell towers across the country.

In a recent press briefing, DICT acting secretary Eliseo Rio Jr. said the department is eyeing to implement a policy which will reduce to seven days the process of issuance of permits for telcos in compliance with the Ease-of-Doing-Business Act.

The department intends to create an inter-agency task force that will consist of various agencies such as the Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and local government units to ease the process of issuance of permits.

The Philippines needs to have additional 50,000 cell sites to be competitive with its neighboring countries in providing quality telco services to the public according to the DICT.

The country currently has 16,000 cell sites against 67 million internet users, giving it the lowest cell site density in Asia. The lack of cell towers has been identified as one of the barriers to affordable and consistently reliable Internet services in the country. — Aerol John Pateña (PNA)

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