DICT: Right-of-way order boosts stronger internet campaign | Inquirer Business
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DICT: Right-of-way order boosts stronger internet campaign

/ 04:02 AM April 13, 2021

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said new government guidelines easing right of way restrictions would boost private sector efforts to build telecommunications infrastructure and improve internet quality.

This was possible following a recent order from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

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Through DPWH Order No. 29, telecommunications companies and internet service providers were allowed to “construct and undertake excavations and/or restoration work for ICT infrastructure projects within the allowable right of way limits of the national roads.”

“To address the increased need for internet connectivity services during the state of public health emergency, we must prioritize the faster rollout of ICT infrastructures like cellular towers,” DICT Secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II said in a statement.

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“We fully support the DPWH’s initiative and we hope that this will help address the issues of congestion, connection reliability and coverage in the near future,” he added.

The DPWH order will lapse after three years or by Mach 2024.

It seeks to speed up the installation of new cell sites and fiber lines amid the ongoing expansion of major telco players PLDT Inc., Globe Telecom and Dito Telecommunity as well as fixed broadband company Converge ICT Solutions.

Their ongoing rollout programs were partly spurred by surging demand for internet during the COVID-19 pandemic.

PLDT earlier welcomed the relaxed right-of-way rules from the DPHW.

“PLDT and Smart are committed to working with the government in ensuring continuous service and a great experience for our customers as we keep them safe and connected amid the pandemic,” PLDT chief revenue officer Al Panililio said in a statement.

PLDT alone has budgeted a record P88 billion to P92 billion for capital expenditures this year. Globe separately announced that capital spending would hit P70 billion for 2021.

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The companies previously acknowledged the government’s help. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, the Anti-Red Tape Authority, alongside other government bodies, moved to ease the longstanding problem of regulatory bottlenecks for securing permits.

As a result, PLDT and Globe said they were each ready to rollout 2,000 new cell sites within this year.

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