Institutionalize space allocation for ICT infrastructure in development projects – think tank

The Philippine Star
Institutionalize space allocation for ICT infrastructure in development projects � think tank
Photos show an aerial shot of Quezon City on February 10, 2024.
Michael Varcas / The Philippine STAR

MANILA, Philippines — Legislators should adopt a no-lease policy in a pending legislation requiring real estate developers to allocate space for information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure in all existing and new development projects, according to international think tank Stratbase Institute.

In a statement, Stratbase Institute president Victor Andres Manhit said “we support the recent passage of the Housing Development Digital Connectivity Act by the House of Representatives as digital connectivity is now an indispensable utility that should be accessible to all and integral to the design of every residential and commercial development project.”

House Bill 9870, or the Housing Development Digital Connectivity Act, aims to ensure internet access in city hubs and densely populated areas.  The proposed legislation mandates all residential developments, subdivisions, communities, or properties to designate a portion of their allocated open space for the installation of ICT infrastructure and related equipment.

The bill proposes to amend Presidential Decree 957, requiring developers of a subdivision to provide open space for parks, playgrounds and recreational use to also accommodate the installation of digital infrastructure for the benefit of its residents.

However, Manhit pointed out that mandating compensation to the local government, homeowners’ association, the lot owner and/or developer for the use of such open space for ICT installations should have rational parameters that balances the rights of property owners and not costly prohibitive for providers to install last mile networks.

“Digital connectivity services should be supported as a critical infrastructure and have the same stature as water and electricity utilities wherein adequate access for the installation of facilities and equipment is provided space in public and private buildings with no-lease,” Manhit said.

He adds that facilities for fast broadband services actually enhances the value of a ready feature provided by property owners just like a standard utility rather than an opportunity for windfall profit.

“All homes, business enterprises, government offices and public spaces should have access to fiber optic connections for fast and stable internet connectivity and mobile phone signals.”

Manhit emphasized how digital connectivity directly boosts the economy because the people are empowered to be more productive using all the digital services they need.

“Last mile connectivity is an infrastructure challenge that government can address by prioritizing policy reforms that would encourage digital connectivity providers to come into home development projects so that residents can choose and subscribe to their preferred broadband service available,” Manhit said.

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