By Emmie V. Abadilla
The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) the other day announced the groundbreaking for the country’s first shared cell tower in Caoayan, Ilocos Sur under the department’s common tower initiative.
The Ilocos shared tower marked the beginning of a common tower program of which 50,000 towers are targeted to be established within the next seven to ten years.
LCS Holdings, Inc. owns the tower in partnership with UA Withya PCL. They are among the 24 common tower providers (CTPs) who signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the DICT.
Dito Telecommunity, the third major telecommunications player, was the first customer of the tower which should start operating in the coming months.
Under the common tower initiative, the DICT will provide assistance to CTPs in the processing of government requirements, such as local and national government permits, as long as CTPs are able to secure an agreement with one of the telco firms.
The DICT has also partnered with the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) to fast track the processing of permits as provided for in Republic Act 9485 or the Anti-Red Tape Law.
“ARTA is talking with the different local government units (LGUs) through the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) in streamlining the issuance of permits to common towers because having a good telecommunication infrastructure is essential to our national interest,” noted DICT Undersecretary for Operations Eliseo Rio Jr.