DICT chief wants institutionalization of common tower policy

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is advocating for a “sustainable” common tower policy as the agency starts to pool comments and position papers from telecommunication and tower companies.

Photo shows DICT secretary Gringo Honasan (2nd from right) speaking during the consultation meeting with local telcos at the DICT head office

In a stakeholders’ meeting held on Wednesday, Aug 7, DICT secretary Gregorio Honasan II said the proposed common tower policy must be sustainable in order to achieve the government’s target of building 50,000 telecommunication towers for the improvement of country’s connectivity.

Kailangang masimulan ito [common tower policy] para kahit na sino ang presidente, mayroon tayong continuity, predictability,” Honasan said.

Yun naman ang hinihingi ng foreign investors dahil naglalagay sila ng bilyon bilyon, tapos walang kasiguraduhan, pag bagong president, bago na naman. Gusto natin kahit sinong nakaupo, tuloy tuloy, pang matagalan,” he added.

The Philippines has only approximately 16,300 towers serving around 130 million combined subscribers of the existing telcos, resulting in the country having one of the lowest tower density in Asia.

To address this, the DICT is pushing for the cooperation of tower firms and telcos, as well as backhaul providers, in the policymaking of the said matter.

DICT undersecretary for operations Eliseo M. Rio Jr. presented in the meeting the proposed provisions of the common tower policy, including requiring telcos to come up with an annual roll-out plan that can be submitted to the tower firms for their consideration.

The telcos, including new major player Dito Telecommunity, and majority of the 24 tower firms that signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the DICT expressed their support for the creation of such policy and vowed to submit their respective position papers.

As the DICT looks to issue the policy as soon as possible, Honasan reminded the stakeholders of the end-goal of accelerating common tower build-up. “Our common tower policy will be driven by our overriding objective, which is to provide connectivity,” Honasan said.

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