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DICT eyes speeding up fiber optic installation nationwide
To do this, ICT Undersecretary for digital Philippines Emmanuel Rey Caintic said they will zero in on the red tape in the permit process for laying out fiber optic cables to help the telcos and fixed broadband connectivity providers install cables throughout the archipelago.
BusinessWorld/File

DICT eyes speeding up fiber optic installation nationwide

Rainier Allan Ronda (The Philippine Star) - January 25, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — After getting some traction on the country’s efforts at building more telecommunications towers to improve the quality and speed of connectivity in the country, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is now setting its sights on speeding up the process of issuing permits for fiber optic cables for telecommunications companies (telcos) and internet connectivity.

To do this, ICT Undersecretary for digital Philippines Emmanuel Rey Caintic said they will zero in on the red tape in the permit process for laying out fiber optic cables to help the telcos and fixed broadband connectivity providers install cables throughout the archipelago.

Caintic said they will basically apply what they have done in the cell site tower permits process by coming out with a joint memorandum circular with the Department of the Interior and Local Government and other concerned national agencies for a streamlined permitting process.

“We in government will help in that aspect,” Caintic told The STAR in a phone interview.

Caintic said they were giving telcos the benefit of the doubt in wanting to pour investments for the installation of fiber optic cables to improve their connectivity process.

“Right now, the permitting (process) differs from one barangay to another. And there’s also that reality on the ground where we hear some people asking for grease money. It’s chaotic,” he revealed, noting that the report also covers a number of homeowners’ associations that hindered the laying out of fiber optic cables.

Philippine telcos have reported a 500-percent increase in data usage when lockdowns started last year because of the massive shift to online services to adapt to travel restrictions and working from home.

Globe Telecom president and chief executive officer Ernest Cu said while the new sites will need time to be built and fired up, the recent unimpeded permitting process has proven to be the much-needed catalyst for the telco industry.

“Improving the country’s state of connectivity and internet speed is a continuing effort that requires both public and private sector support,” Cu said.

The Ayala-led telco is boosting investments by 250 percent in 2021 and will build 2,000 new cell towers and sites next year and expand its 5G network to more cities and municipalities in Metro Manila. – Paolo Romero

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