Saturday, April 20, 2024

House ICT panel to conduct hearing on common tower policy

The House Committee on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is set to conduct a hearing on the common tower policy of the government.

ICT Committee chairman Victor Yap (2nd District representative, Tarlac) said he intends to look into the status of the proposed common tower policy of the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT).

“We want to be updated on the common tower policy given that stakeholders have expressed their objections to the first draft. We would like to see the common tower policy push through as this is an important step to make telecommunication services in the country faster and more affordable,” Yap said.

The proposed policy would allow cell tower firms to build and deploy communication infrastructures that may be leased to telecommunications companies to further improve the delivery of their services to the public.

However, telcos have opposed the draft common tower policy of Presidential Adviser Ramon Jacinto that restricted the number of cell site builders to two registered tower providers.

Telcos argue that their legislative franchises give them the right to own and establish cell sites, and that denying them of this could lead to an infringement of their rights.

The Philippine Competition Commission has also issued a statement that the limitation on the number of players that can participate may raise competition concerns.

While the DICT is still revising the policy, it has signed memoranda of understanding (MoU) with common tower companies in the meantime.

The DICT said it is targeting the drafting of a revised common tower policy by the second quarter of this year.

The hearing is scheduled on April 8, Monday.

Among the invited resource persons are Jacinto, DICT acting secretary Eliseo Rio Jr., National Telecommunications Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba, Philippine Competition Commission chairman Arsenio Balisacan, Globe Telecom CEO Ernest Cu, PLDT and Smart Communications president and CEO Manuel Pangilinan, among others.


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