Group calls for lease-free broadband installation among property owners


MANILA, Philippines – An advocacy group has urged property owners to lift the lease fees for the installation of broadband connectivity as more Filipinos need internet access, emphasizing it is now a basic necessity.

"Yes. Oo, tama. Parang public service na rin nila 'yan — 'yung mga property owners [na gawing lease-free ang broadband connectivity] para sa ating mga mamamayan. Napakahalaga nun," Suki Network spokesperson Prof. Reginald Vallejos said when asked about the calls to suspend the rent fees of telcos.

"Dapat free o kaya pinapagamit nila ng libre para ma-improve 'yung internet, 'yung communication natin, mas maganda 'yun, dapat i-regulate ng government," he added.

To date, nearly 800 buildings across Metro Manila have lifted lease fees for broadband connectivity, with Makati City having the highest number of buildings that adopted the lease-free setup for digital connectivity. Taguig City follows with 91 buildings and Quezon City with 57.

Vallejos added that the government should "take part" in suspending lease fees for broadband connectivity, expressing his support on enacting a law to help the telcos in providing sufficient internet connection through widening its coverage.

Two bills have been filed in House of Representatives — House Bill Nos. 8534 and 900 — having one goal: to provide for a clear and specific definition and guidelines for property developers to allocate necessary space to deliver basic telecommunication services.

Meanwhile, Vallejos emphasized that widening the coverage of internet connection is essential as having access to such is a human right.

"Malaki 'yung tulong ng internet. Kami sa Suki Network kino-consider namin siya na basic [necessity] na rin para mga mamamayan so karapatan na rin dapat ng mga mamamayan na magkaroon ng maayos na internet at telecommunications," the University of the Philippines-Manila professor said.

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