Streamlining permits under Bayanihan 2 to help 'dramatically' increase telco towers: Globe

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 24 2020 11:46 AM | Updated as of Aug 24 2020 12:06 PM

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MANILA - A provision under the Bayanihan 2 that streamlines the permitting process in building telco towers will help "dramatically" increase cell sites in the country, Globe Telecom said Monday. 

The provision under the ratified version of the country's second coronavirus response law will facilitate in at least doubling the country's "barely" 25,000 total number of cell sites, Globe Telecom chief technology officer Gil Genio told ANC.

There is a provision under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act that allows "temporary suspension of requirements to secure permits and clearances for the construction of telecommunications and internet infrastructure."

The bill gives telcos 3 years to construct without obstructions, which Genio said was enough. Bayanihan 2 is currently up for the signature of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Other Asian countries with fewer population have over 90,000 cell sites, Genio said. 

"The joint memorandum circular, the government and Bayanihan 2, would (help) facilitate putting up dramatically more cell sites in the country," Genio said. 

"The Bayanihan 2, gives a 3-year window and I think 3 years is enough for this industry to have even double the number of sites," he added.

Globe Telecom said it aims to offer 4G everywhere in the Philippines and to offer 5G in 8 major cities in Visayas and Mindanao. 

It said 5G is already available in central business districts in Metro Manila. 

President Rodrigo Duterte, in his 5th State of the Nation Address (SONA), threatened to shut or expropriate telcos if no improvements were made until December.

Genio said doubling the cell count to 50,000 in the next few years could help give the country "the kind of internet penetration and coverage that we deserve."

Its rival PLDT Inc's Smart Communications earlier said its 5G mobile network went live commercially last July. 

Third telecommunications player DITO Telecommunity, which is mounting its network to challenge Globe and PLDT, committed to build 1,300 towers before its commercial launch in March 2021.