WITH the clamor for faster and more reliable internet connection to keep up with the demands in school and work during this pandemic, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is promoting faster telecommunications tower buildup through reducing tower permitting requirements.
“These inter-agency efforts are initiated with the recognition that information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure improvements need to begin with the reduction of bureaucratic red tape that has long interfered with our mission of improving the internet connection in the country,” DICT Secretary Gregorio Honasan II said in a statement.
“With everyone stepping up, we hope to fast-track the buildup of telecommunication towers in support of President Rodrigo Duterte’s directives to fully address the Filipinos’ connectivity needs,” he added.
The need for an improved ICT infrastructure is still one of the major concerns of the government during this public health emergency as the demand for internet connectivity surged among businesses, industries, students, workers and the larger public.
Back in July 23, 2020, the DICT, Anti-Red Tape Authority, along with other concerned agencies released a joint memorandum circular (JMC) which aims to streamline the process of applications for the requirements, permits, licenses, clearances, certificates and other necessary documents for independent tower companies (ITCs) and telecommunication companies to construct shared passive telecommunications tower infrastructures in accordance with the DICT’s common tower policy.
The Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development, a signatory in the JMC, stated on Aug. 28, 2020 that it has updated the guidelines for permit and documentary requirement application for ICT infrastructure projects, including permits to build towers.
Moreover, to ease the permitting requirements, the agency launched an online portal which can be accessed at https://commontower.gov.ph/ to facilitate the digital application and registration of interested ITCs.
Presently, the DICT has received letters of intent from 13 additional tower companies that wish to register as ITCs. This was a welcome improvement to the department’s existing agreements with the 24 tower companies, which are mostly foreign-owned. (JOB with PR)