Anti-red tape body vows to speed up telco permits
The Anti-Red Tape Authority (Arta) is pushing for more reforms to speed up the permitting process for telecommunication companies, as the number of fixed and wireless infrastructure build-out applications continued to rise.
“We have been meeting with our stakeholders from the telco sector to pinpoint the bottlenecks and areas of improvement. In fact, the solutions for concerns gathered during our numerous consultations will be featured in our upcoming Telco Summit 2022,” Arta Secretary Ernesto Perez said on Monday. He was referring to the forum scheduled on Dec. 6, where stakeholder representatives from both the public and private sector are expected to attend.
In 2021, Arta said the three major telcos in the country had been able to secure a total of 68,711 permits. But Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) and its wireless subsidiary Smart Communications Inc. have secured 68,000 additional fixed and wireless permits in Cavite, Batangas, Laguna and Palawan just from October to November of this year.
“Arta welcomes this huge accomplishment of PLDT and Smart Inc. When we started the streamlining reforms in the telco sector in 2020, Arta was optimistic that we would be seeing its effects in the next two years and this is indeed part of it”, Perez said.
Arta was instrumental in the drafting of three joint memorandum circulars (JMCs) that streamlined the processes and requirements in setting up telecommunications towers and poles.
These include JMC No. 1, series of 2020, or the streamlined guidelines for permits, licenses and certificates for construction of shared passive telecommunications tower infrastructure, which reduced the number of necessary permits from 13 to eight, documentary requirements from 86 to 35, and length of time for processing from 241 days to 16 days.
Another one is the JMC No. 1, series of 2021, or the streamlined guidelines for the issuance of permits and clearances for the erection of poles, construction of underground fiber ducts and installation of aerial and underground cables and facilities to accelerate the rollout of telecommunications and internet infrastructure, which decreased the number of needed permits from 11 to five, documentary requirements from 62 to 26, and length of time for processing time of 868 days to 74 days. INQ
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