DITO Telecommunity Corp., formerly Mislatel Consortium, would have its commercial operations delayed due to the complex cell tower permitting process. DITO Chief Administrative officer Adel Tamano said that it was already delayed from the company’s first target, from September 2019 to July 2020, to “put the network in place”.
Lawmakers are now beginning to doubt DITO’s capability in accomplishing its promise of 2,500 cell site construction, which will cover 37% of the whole Philippines with a minimum Internet speed of 27-Mbps, by July 2020. ACT Teachers party-list Rep.
“DICT was concerned about the capability of DITO to fulfill its commitments as July is six months away,” said DICT Secretary Gregorio Honasan.
France Castro pressed Congress to issue investigation by the Department of Information and Communication Technology and DITO officials.
Industry providers explained in summary about the challenges of building telco infrastructure, such as multiple LGU permits for one cell site can take the procedure eight months long.
Other than LGU permits, cell site construction also imposed certain guidelines and requirements made by homeowners associations, exclusive subdivisions and building administrators based on Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board Resolution No. R-626 issued in 1998. The process consists of everything from negotiations, documentation of prospective cell site location, up to securing structural permits and approvals, which is easier said than done in completing these feats. In this context, the lengthy permit applications hinder the faster construction of DITO’s 2,500 cell sites.
In response to address these issues of delaying permits, the Philippines’ Anti-Red Tape Authority and DICT cooperated with the national automation of government services to shorten the processing time for business permits. The DICT had also proposed an idea of tower sharing to increase tower density. It follows that the number of subscribers being served by each telco increases by two and more telcos sharing in a single tower.
Furthermore, in support of a faster construction process in cell sites, the DICT is working on a new common tower policy since 2018, with the final draft of policy delayed to February 2020.