Common tower policy to push through — DICT
Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) - August 8, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The government is pushing through with the issuance of a common tower policy, with comprehensive rules and guidelines governing passive telecommunications infrastructure sharing in the country, after previously thinking twice about its need.

“Yes, that’s a guarantee,” Information and Communications Technology Secretary Gregorio Honasan said yesterday when asked about his agency’s intent to come out with a common tower policy.

Honasan said the target is to have a new draft version of the policy released and presented within the next two months.

Honasan declined to commit on a deadline as to when stakeholders could expect the issuance of a final policy, saying that it would depend on their ability to process all the inputs.

“What we want is to hear everyone. That’s why it should be a product of consensus among the players. A tower policy is an enabler,” Honasan said, adding that “we would not allow the legal issues to slow down the process. We want to make it as predictable as possible within a regime of a level playing field.”

Information and Communications Technology Undersecretary for operations Eliseo Rio, who earlier said the agency no longer sees the immediate need to come out with a common tower policy, said the decision to push through with the issuance of the final rules and guidelines is due to the strong clamor from stakeholders.

“We will craft the common tower policy to the satisfaction of all stakeholders. If not all, then majority at least,” Rio said.

Representatives of various tower companies present during a consultation meeting yesterday with the DICT said they would want to see a “formalized” common tower policy.

They said having a formalized policy would give them a clearer direction in making investment decisions moving forward.

Presidential adviser on economic affairs and information technology communications Ramon Jacinto said he has submitted formally to the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) a set of rules and guidelines which his office has formulated.

Jacinto’s previous draft common tower policy which was presented last year met oppositions from tower providers, telcos, and other stakeholders as it tried to limit to a maximum of two the independent tower companies that will be registered by the NTC in the first four years of the program’s implementation and likewise prohibited telcos from building their own towers unless the tower companies are unable to do so.

“As far as I’m concerned, I already issued a policy to the NTC in accordance with my mandate, but Secretary Honasan and Undersecretary Rio and I continue to talk and we will be in sync,” Jacinto said.

Honasan said Jacinto’s proposal is just one of the many inputs the DICT would consider in coming out with the final common tower policy.

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