DICT wants to finalize common tower policy by Q2

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said it is targeting to finalize its common tower policy within the second quarter of this year.

The policy will enable cell tower companies to build communication infrastructures that may be leased by telcos to enhance the quality of their services.

“We are expecting the policy to be out as soon as possible. We are trying to look at the second quarter of this year,” DICT assistant secretary Alan Silor said in a press briefing this Monday, February 18.

The DICT said it will allow the entry of more tower providers in the country as this will ultimately be more cost-efficient for the telcos.

“We are now telling the telcos: We now have tower companies that are willing to put up the infrastructure for you. They will be the ones who will be operating and maintaining these towers. All you have to do is rent from them,” according to DICT acting secretary Eliseo Rio Jr.

To date, the department has signed memorandums of understanding (MOU) with ISOC Infrastructures, Singapore’s ISON ECP Tower, IHS Towers, Edotco Group, RT Telecom of Malaysia, China Energy Engineering Corp, and Aboitiz InfraCapital and MGS Construction.

It is set to sign MOUs with American Towers, Frontier Tower Associates Management, and GNI-JTower Inc. Consortium on Tuesday, February 19.

The DICT has asked Smart Communications, Globe Telecom and the Mislatel consortium to individually provide a list of areas and number of cell sites that their respective operations will need.

The tower providers need to partner with the telcos for them to build on their infrastructures.

The DICT will then sign a memorandum of agreement with them to allow the agency to provide assistance through facilitation of permits, right of way, and providing other government support for infrastructure.

The DICT estimates that the common tower initiative would generate about $4.4 billion in new investments, creating thousands of domestic jobs.

The DICT has said the Philippines needs additional 50,000 cell towers to be competitive with its neighboring countries in providing quality communication services to the public.

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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