By Chito Chavez
A telecommunication company wants an increased government role in the construction of tower sites to improve the delivery of the country’s communication services.
In a statement, Atty. Froilan Castelo, counsel of Globe telecom suggested the government should be part of the tower company to eliminate the barriers to “independent tower companies” putting up their telco tower networks.
These barriers include numerous local government permits, exorbitant taxation and difficult right-of-way (ROW) obstruction woes.
However, Castelo said “speeding up the roll-out starts with a policy that does not make the task of creating more cell sites an exclusive endeavor.’’
In a public consultation in Quezon City, the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT), the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and the Presidential Adviser for ICT Ramon Jacinto presented the government’s draft policies, rules and regulations on the common telecommunications tower program.
Stakeholders expressed puzzlement as to why the playing field was limited only to two independent tower companies.
However, DICT Secretary Eliseo Rio said “nothing is final yet” with regard to what Jacinto stated that “we have decided with two.”
The stakeholders hope that Rio will do away with limiting to accommodate all interested firms.
ATC Asia Pacific Ltd. vice president Asia Manish Kasliwal suggested that a more open accreditation process leads to more player involvement.
By allowing the participation of more interested parties, Kasliwal said it would allow market forces to “make their own decisions” as contenders that would establish a “cleaner and more sanitized” modus operandi.
Frontier Tower chief executive Patrick Tangley noted the two tower company policy “does not make sense” adding that the likelihood of the biggest contributors to building towers come from those “with no licenses at all.”
The likelihood that allowing only two tower companies could lead to highly-sensitive favoritism, making the ensuing accreditation a money-for-value proposition.
Globe Telecom has assured DICT that it welcomes a third telco player and that it will act in consonance with the program of sharing facilities with other telecommunication firms.