“What we will focus on right now is to come up with a pilot common tower program. This is the first time the Philippines is doing so. The results of this pilot common tower program will be the inputs for a more comprehensive common tower policy which will be ready by the end of October this year,” DICT Undersecretary for operations Eliseo Rio said.
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Comprehensive common tower policy out soon
Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) - October 20, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is looking to come out by the end of the month with a new draft of a comprehensive common tower policy that would govern the use of shared telecommunications towers in the country.

“What we will focus on right now is to come up with a pilot common tower program. This is the first time the Philippines is doing so. The results of this pilot common tower program will be the inputs for a more comprehensive common tower policy which will be ready by the end of October this year,” DICT Undersecretary for operations Eliseo Rio said.

The DICT last August conducted a stakeholders’ meeting on common towers where local and international telecommunication and tower companies shared their comments and insights in crafting a sustainable common tower policy for the country.

The previous draft policy pushed by Presidential Adviser on Economic Affairs and Information Technology Communications Ramon Jacinto 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.

The DICT published last May the rules on the so-called “accelerated roll-out of common towers,” which will be a proof of concept to serve as the basis of a more comprehensive rules and guidelines governing passive telecommunications infrastructure sharing.

Under its common tower initiative, the DICT intends to put up at least 50,000 new common towers nationwide over the next seven to 10 years to augment the existing close to 18,000 cell sites in the country.

To do so, the agency will provide assistance to common tower providers in the processing of government requirements, such as local and national government permits, as long as these tower firms 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 through the Department of the Interior and Local Government in streamlining the issuance of permits to common towers because having a good telecommunication infrastructure is essential to our national interest,” Rio said.

COMMON TOWER PROGRAM DICT
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