Antitrust body backs joint memo seeking faster permits, cutting red-tape for telco infra

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 27 2021 11:27 AM | Updated as of Oct 27 2021 11:39 AM

MANILA— The Philippine Competition Commission on Wednesday said it supports the government's effort to streamline the permitting process for telco infrastructure. 

Several agencies on Tuesday released a Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) which aims to expedite the issuance of permits for the erection of poles, construction of underground fiber ducts, and installation of aerial and underground cables, the PCC said in a statement.

The memo directs local governments to require only one excavation permit for a series of projects within their area and to set-up a one-stop-shop for processing applications, it added. 

Redundant requirements have also been removed under the measure while LGUs were required to limit processing time to 7 working days.

“Cutting red-tape and sharing of essential infrastructure lower the barriers to entry and unlock market efficiencies. The pro-competition features of the JMC will provide relief to millions of subscribers through improved telecommunication services,” said PCC Chairperson Arsenio Balisacan. 

"Through the JMC, the increase of market players at the network level is now complemented by the accelerated rollout of infrastructure on the ground,” he added. 

Balisacan said the memo also prescribes the sharing of existing poles and other physical infrastructure and prohibits anti-competitive acts.

Refusal to grant access should be based on objective, transparent and proportionate criteria such as the lack of technical suitability and available space, the PCC said. 

The government has been pushing for the Common Tower initiative which would allow telcos to cover more areas especially those that are underserved. 

The PCC, as part of the oversight committee, is mandated to prohibit anti-competitive acts, Balisacan said.
 
The JMC was issued by the following agencies:

  • Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA)
  • Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT)
  • Department of the lnterior and Local Government (DILG)
  • Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)
  • Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD)
  • Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP)
  • National Telecommunications Commission (NTC)
  • Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC)
  • National Electrification Administration (NEA)

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