18 March 2019 – After linking up with tower firms, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is looking to partner with telcos in order to fast track the rollout of the government’s common tower initiative. 

The DICT is proposing to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and with each telco company to build 50,000 common towers in seven years.   

In the said MOU, the DICT and NTC will identify sites where common towers are recommended to be built, with a target of 3,000 sites on Year 1 and gradually increasing it to 10,000 sites from Year 5 to Year 7. Telcos will also coordinate with the two parties in the identification of priority sites.

The DICT targets the finalization of the Common Tower policy within a month after the telcos release the list of sites earmarked for tower roll-out.

“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 M. Rio Jr. said.  

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.

In regards with the government’s commitment to the tower companies, the DICT will assist firms with binding contract/s with telcos on compliance with legal, regulatory and administrative requirements/permits for building towers.

There are over 25 permits that can take 8 months or more to secure to build just one (1) tower. As a solution to this, the Department will facilitate the creation of a inter-agency one-stop shop for expedient processing of licenses, clearances, permits, certifications or authorization, in coordination with other concerned government agencies.

A series of stakeholder round-table discussions will be held in the following weeks to finalize the Common Tower Policy.