DICT Philippines mulls investments in common towers

DICT Philippines mulls investments in common towers

Philippines' Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) plans to invest in building a common tower infrastructure to fast-track the rollout of internet services and to expand mobile services to underserved areas of the country.

The DICT is pushing for the construction of independent cell towers, meaning these will be built and managed by third-party companies and can be leased by several telecommunications providers, revealed newspaper reports in the country.

Emmanuel Rey Caintic, the DICT undersecretary for Digital Philippines, said the agency is working with Congress on legislation that will allow the DICT to utilize untapped funds from the spectrum users fee reserved for the deployment of free WiFi in public places, for building common infrastructure in commercially unviable places.

"DICT wishes to invest in common towers for ‘missionary’ sites, complete with radio access network and Internet Protocol backhaul," Caintic is quoted as saying, adding: "To address permitting delays in ongoing builds of fibre-optic networks, we are drafting a new Joint Memorandum Circular to streamline the permitting process. Fibre networks are critical in operationalising broadband services."

Data from the National Telecommunications Commission showed the country has 22,405 towers as of November last year. Of the total, Globe Telecom Inc. has 10,270 towers, Smart Communications Inc. has 10,069, and new telecom player DITO Telecommunity Corp., 2,066 towers.

In another report, former DICT officer-in-charge Eliseo Rio said the country wants some 50,000 towers built in the next 5 years.

Meanwhile, Globe Telecom, a major provider of telecommunications services in the Philippines, said that 318 new cell towers in strategic locations all over the country and completed the expansion of at least 4,210 sites and laying 274,000 high-speed lines.

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