DICT wants to invest in common towers

Published May 8, 2021, 7:00 AM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

The Department on Information and Communications Technology (DICT) plans to invest in common telecommunications towers to expand mobile services to underserved areas of the country.

 “DICT wishes to invest in common towers for missionary sites, complete with radio access network and Internet Protocol back haul,” DICT Undersecretary for Digital Philippines Emmanuel Rey R. Caintic said in a posted update of Telecom Tower Watch,

Caintic said they are working with Congress on legislation allowing DICT to utilize untapped funds from the Spectrum Users Fee reserved for FREE WIFI for Public Places for digital infrastructure which in turn “will allow us to build common infrastructure in commercially unviable places hungry for cellular signals.”

Caintic added, “To address permitting delays in ongoing builds of fiber optic networks, we are drafting a new Joint Memorandum Circular to streamline the permitting process. Fiber networks are critical in operationalizing broadband services.”

Caintic also pointed out delays in ongoing tower projects caused by travel restrictions of to avoid spread of COVID 19 infections.

“We observed some delays because travel of telco specialists were disrupted which is understandable because of the necessary safety protocols,” Caintic said.

In a separate statement, Globe Telecom reported 318 new cell towers in strategic locations all over the country and completed the expansion of at least 4,210 sites and laying 274,000 high-speed lines.

 “While our numbers are good for the first quarter of the year, there is still a lot more work to be done.

We need to continue this momentum and rise above quarantine challenges to meet the growing demand of our customers,” said Joel Agustin, Globe Senior Vice President for Program Delivery, Network Technical Group.

Telecom Tower Watch Convenor Orlando Oxales said, “We appeal to the local authorities on the ground not to delay ongoing construction of thousands of digital infrastructure projects such as telecommunications towers and fiber optic networks that the country urgently needs especially now that non-contact modes is the safest way of interaction.”

 “We will be releasing regular updates on ongoing issues that need action to speed-up the expansion of our digital infrastructure and appeal on all parties in the many touch points of these projects to be part of the solution because it’s their own communities that will benefit,” Oxales said.

Telecom Tower Watch is a monitoring and consultation initiative of the Department of Information and Telecommunications Commission in partnership with CitizenWatch Philippines that aims to support the accelerated building of digital infrastructure projects. The project was launched March 2021. This advocacy is a regular venue for close monitoring and troubleshooting of unnecessary delays in the building of all telecommunications towers and related projects.