Telcos urged to fasttrack rollout of common towers
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is seeking the full cooperation of the country’s telecommunication companies to fasttrack the rollout of common towers nationwide as the agency hopes to finalize very soon the regulations on shared telecommunication infrastructure.
The DICT is proposing to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and with each telco company – PLDT, Globe and Mislatel – for the construction of at least 50,000 common towers in seven years.
“The provisions of the proposed MOU is seen to get the telcos’ cooperation on efficient common tower rollout, avoid tower duplication, as well as connect more missionary areas through a possible government subsidy,” the DICT said.
Under the proposed MOU, the DICT and NTC will identify sites where common towers are recommended to be built, with a target of 3,000 sites on the first year and gradually increasing it to 10,000 sites from the fifth to seventh year.
Telcos will also coordinate with the two parties in the identification of priority sites, the DICT said.
The agency is targeting to finalize the common tower policy within a month after the telcos release the list of sites earmarked for tower roll-out.
A series of stakeholder round-table discussions will be held in the following weeks to iron out the final version of the common tower policy.
“Telcos will be the end-user of these common towers so we fully need their cooperation to improve our overall telecommunication landscape,” DICT Acting Secretary Eliseo Rio said.
So far, the DICT has signed MOUs with 15 aspiring tower providers and has decided to stop at that number, saying that it has already gotten “the best of the best.”
It has also limited the country’s common tower landscape to the big and experienced players capable of delivering hundreds of shared telecommunications infrastructure at the least.
The DICT will assist firms with binding contracts with telcos on compliance with legal, regulatory and administrative requirements and permits for building towers given that there are currently 25 permits that can take eight months or more to secure to build just one tower in the country.