Filipinos have to adjust to the “new normal” brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new normal includes changing the way to earn a living, getting an education, maintaining lifestyle, and socializing without physical contact.
However, to achieve these, everyone must have a better Internet connection which is a challenge at the moment.
“The Internet has become an essential part of our new way of life, especially with the prospects of the new normal like work from home and e-learning,” said Atty. Froilan Castelo, General Counsel at Globe.
The issue has been overdue even way back before the COVID-19 outbreak and the introduction of DITO Telecommunity as the third telco player. Unfortunately, DITO also cited COVID-19 as a reason for its slow progress.
Local government units (LGUs) also contribute to the slow deployment of other telcos’ cell sites. LGUs requires telcos to go through a complex process and denies entry of any telcos due to various reasons.
Addressing this concern, Globe has urged LGUs to make their policies more flexible.
“We appeal to LGUs, especially the barangay leaders, to rethink the way they view permits to enable building the right amount of infrastructure to serve their constituents best,” said Castelo.
“If they allow just one opposition in a barangay to stop the permitting process, then it’s a disservice to the entire city, not just the barangay,” he added.
The Philippines is way behind in terms of site density compared to other neighboring countries like India, Indonesia, and Vietnam. There are approximately 17,850 cell sites only in the country, as per Tower Xchange’s 2019 3rd Quarter report.
The latest report from We Are Social revealed that Internet penetration in the country stood at 67% in January 2020. There are now 73 million users on social media. By this, about 4,089 users are sharing one cell site.
“We remain hopeful that more LGUs will realize the need to fast track Information and Communication Technology (ICT) network expansion. The new normal demands better connection, better service and better experience as more people stay at home to work. Continuing to do otherwise is a great disservice to the Filipino people,” Castelo said.