With nationwide connectivity becoming essential amid the pandemic, Anakalusugan Party-List Representative Michael Defensor urged the government to invest in stable Internet connection across the country, especially for the education sector in adopting online or flexible learning.
Defensor stressed that “Internet connectivity must also be efficient in the missionary areas” for students so they “will not be left behind.”
In this context, he pushed to increase the number of cell towers in ensuring reliable connectivity in remote areas. Telecommunications companies (telcos), however, cannot deliver in-demand cell site numbers in missionary sites all by themselves and they need support from the government.
“It is for this reason that I am pushing for the funding by the government on digital infrastructure, particularly on cell sites in missionary areas,” said Defensor, adding that telcos currently don’t prioritize the construction of cell towers in their business plans due to the COVID-19 crisis.
The congressman proposed to allow the telcos to rent the state-owned cell towers invested in missionary cell sites and other network infrastructure. He estimated that an investment of P12 billion could produce 2,000 missionary cell sites, which costs an average of P6 million per tower.