DPWH asked to amend ROW rules for faster telecom deployment

Published October 21, 2020, 4:06 PM

by Emmie V. Abadilla

Telecom regulators urged the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to amend right-of-way (ROW) rules so telcos can roll-out infrastructure faster and speed up Internet connections.

Specifically, both the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) want DPWH to amend Department Order (D.O.) 73, s. 2014.

The D.O. prohibits “posts and towers of Electric Cooperatives and Major Electric Power Distribution, distribution lines, posts for cable of phones and mobile service providers” along all national roads.

The prohibition makes it difficult for public telecommunication firms to roll-out critical backbone and last mile connectivity.

In a recent letter to DPWH Secretary Mark Villar, the DICT and NTC invoked their joint commitment under the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signed during the 2017 First Philippine Telecoms Summit.

The agencies agreed to revise the DPWH order in question three years ago to deploy ICT infrastructure faster.

After signing the MOA, the DPWH held various technical working group (TWG) meetings with the DICT, the NTC, telcos, cable operators, as well as other stakeholders.

The proposed amendments to the DPWH’s ROW rule was also one of the priorities of the recently-established Telecommunications Monitoring Group (TMG).

The inter-agency body is composed of members from the DICT, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Presidential Anti-Crime Commission (PACC), Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) and the Office of the Special Assistant to the President (OSAP).

 “Connectivity will only be possible through the accelerated rollout of ICT networks and infrastructure,” stressed DICT Secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II.

Hence  “Our priority is to develop  policies against red tape that delays the rollout of infrastructure for both telecommunicatìons as well as information services,” he added.