The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) inspected the first common telecom tower constructed by Independent Tower Company (ITC) LCS Group in Valenzuela City on July 23, 2021.

The inspection is part of the Department’s initiative to promote the Common Tower Policy, formally known as Department Circular No. 8, s. 2020 titled Policy Guidelines on the Co-Location and Sharing of Passive Telecommunications Tower Infrastructure for Macro Cell Sites.

“Through the Common Tower Policy, we hope to widen the base of common towers and, thus, speed up the deployment of Internet across the country by allowing and encouraging telcos and Internet service providers to share cell towers,” DICT Secretary Gregorio “Gringo” B. Honasan II said.

“The government and the private sector need to work closely together in upgrading ICT infrastructures, such as cell towers, not just to improve the quality of Internet connectivity, but also to address the increasing demand for data generated by the millions of online users in the new normal,” he added.

LCS Group’s CEO for ICT Aaron Tan explained that the tower inspected by the DICT is a Rapid Deployment Station (RDS) Telecom Tower which incorporates the tower body, fencing and foundation in one. The structure spans 20m in height and can cater to all three Mobile Network Operators (MNOs). It can also be deployed and disassembled in a few days without the need for extensive excavation and foundation construction. This type of tower is most suitable to be deployed in areas where suitable land is scarce and where elevated buildings are insufficient.

DITO Telecommunity (DITO), one of the three major telco players in the country, is the first to co-locate with LCS’ tower. DITO Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Rodolfo Santiago said they plan to continue partnering with LCS Group to complete up to 100 towers by end of the month and 300 towers by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, LCS Group Chairman, Mayor Chavit Singson, committed to roll out as much as 6,000 towers in the next few years in support of the DICT and President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s directive for the improvement of Internet connectivity in the country.

The DICT issued the Common Tower Policy in June last year in compliance with the directives of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, through the Executive Secretary in 28 May 2020, to process the immediate issuance of the Department’s common tower policy in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In relation to the said policy, the DICT, Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA), and other key agencies revised and expanded the Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No 001, s. 2021 to harmonize the provisions of the original policy and Republic Act No. 11494 or the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act.

The JMC aims to reduce delays and streamline the processes to secure permits, licenses, and authorizations of Passive Telecommunications Tower Infrastructures (PTTIs), whether shared or exclusive, to accelerate the roll out of telecommunication infrastructure and service projects.