More common tower firms eye gov’t accreditation

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More tower companies are showing interest in building common towers in the country, according to the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) on Thursday, Sept. 3.

In a statement, the DICT said it has received letters of intent from 13 tower companies asking to register as independent tower companies (ITC) as part of the DICT’s push to build shared or common towers for the rollout of better internet service in the country.

“This was a welcome improvement to the Department’s existing agreements with the 24 tower companies, which are mostly foreign-owned,” the DICT said.

To help ease their registration and to assist with permitting requirements, it has also launched an online portal  to facilitate the digital application and registration of interested ITCs.

To further ease the construction of more towers, the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) has recently updated its guidelines for the documentary requirements of information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructures such as common towers.

The guidelines, issued through DHSUD Department Order No. 2020-009, would allow telecommunications companies (telco) and common tower firms to streamline the acquisition of consent from homeowner’s associations, building owners, and concerned tenants to build ICT facilities.

Instead of acquiring consent, it said companies may submit a written certification executed under oath that states there is no other available or suitable site within the coverage area and that the location is the best fit for connectivity purposes.

“The company should likewise submit an undertaking that promises the conduct of social preparation among the affected homeowners,” the order read.

The Senate, likewise, has also expressed the possibility of suspending tower permit requirements for telcos for three years as part of the “Bayanihan to Recover as One Act,” also known as Bayanihan 2, according to the DICT.

“These proposed provisions aim to suspend select tower permits, except the building permit,” the DICT said.

In July, the DICT, DHSUD, the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA), and other government agencies signed a Joint Memorandum Circular to streamline the processing of permits, licenses, and other requirements for the speedy construction of common towers. — Raymond Carl Dela Cruz (PNA)

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