PLDT calls for uniformity in telco policies


To speed up rollout of broadband infra

THE Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT), the country’s leading telecoms and digital services provider,on Tuesday called for the harmonization of national policies and local government regulations to speed up the deployment of broadband infrastructure and support the vision to transform the Philippines into a digital nation.

Echoing an industry-supported resolution, Mario Tamayo, PLDT and Smart Communications senior vice president for network services, suggested that a standard permit system be set up to minimize bureaucratic delays and strengthen stakeholder support for the rollout of network infrastructure to more areas in the country.

“We are calling for a national consensus to harmonize policies and regulations in support of building digital data infrastructure. We also hope to deepen the understanding of our people, at the community level, on how vital telecoms infrastructure are to our lives,” Tamayo said in a speech during a recent summit for government players and information communications technology players hosted by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).

Tamayo, who presented before the forum the challenges that telecoms firms like PLDT faced in the rollout of wired broadband infrastructures, said there are currently no standard fees in applying for permits.

“Particularly at the level of barangays and municipalities, telcos face different sets of permit fees and processing timelines,” he said.

PLDT also has to deal with widespread cases of cable theft and fiber breaks due to digging activities for national and local public works projects, Tamayo said. These third-party causes account for about 80 percent of service interruptions for the country’s largest telecoms provider, he said.

“When these facilities are damaged or stolen, this harms our welfare as surely as when roads and bridges are washed away,” he said.

Tamayo also proposed that the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) allocate space for telecoms infrastructure in public highways to reduce right-of-way issues and expedite the deployment of fiber facilities.

In anticipation of the continued growth of data traffic and digital services in the country, PLDT plans to increase the capacity of its data infrastructure by ten times come 2020, he said.

In 2016 alone, the company has allocated P48 billion for capital expenditure to fortify and expand its fixed and wireless networks, including the utilization of its recently acquired 700MHz spectrum frequency.

PLDT’s fiber cable links at present span 140,000 kilometers, the most extensive fiber network in the country. These support fiber and DSL connections, as well as provide vital transport for the mobile networks of Smart and Sun.

PLDT has also significantly invested in landing stations and international cable links that connect the Philippines to the United States, Europe, Australia and Africa.

Having the most number of these in the country is important because 90 percent of Internet content accessed by Filipinos come from overseas, mostly from North America, PLDT said.


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