Globe supports government move to boost telco’s ICT capacities

LISTED mobile-services provider Globe Telecom Inc. supports the bills introduced in the Senate to push for more reforms in the telecommunications industry.

Globe General Counsel Froilan Castelo said his group is particularly supportive of bills referred to the  adoption of a nationwide mobile-number portability and streamlining of permitting process for cell sites.

“We have always taken the position that government support is indispensable in enhancing the country’s ICT capacities, which is vital in growing the economy,” he said.

He added his group is hopeful policy reforms would consider the benefit of the consumers and the economy.

“We hope any move to reform the telco industry should include formulation of policies that would fast-track the development of the ICT industry as a whole to further boost economic development,” Castelo said.

Citing a GSMA report from 2016, Castelo said it is imperative for the government to institute reforms in the sector, as the mobile ecosystem in Asia Pacific, makes a significant contribution to their respective economies in terms of economic growth, job creation and public funding.

The report said the total value added generated by the mobile ecosystem was around $440 billion, with network operators accounting for well over half of this total.

Likewise, the use of mobile technology also drives improvements in productivity and efficiency for workers and companies.

Castelo said there is a pressing need to accelerate development of information and communication technology infrastructure to improve business competencies and capacities, as well as enhance delivery of essential government services in communities where even basic infrastructure, such as roads and bridges, are lacking for a more inclusive economic growth.

Despite heavy investments in recent years, establishment of telco infrastructure in remote areas in the country continues to be a challenge, hindered by business viability concerns that has kept telco operators from aggressively deploying infrastructure in rural and far-flung areas.

To address such challenges, Globe has proposed the government itself should help develop the ICT sector by investing in Internet infrastructure in outlying communities, stressing Internet access creates significant impact on the development of marginal areas as this allows the community to conduct businesses, get information on education, health and other government services.

In addition to investments in “missionary routes”, telecommunication operators also need government support in minimizing, if not eliminating, bureaucracy in relation to the permitting process for cell sites and right-of-way for fiber deployment, Castelo said.

He added that the company needs to secure around 25 permits, spanning at least eight months to complete, to build a single cell site.

He said, “Given public clamor for better Internet speeds and access, rationalization of the permitting process for telco infrastructure should be addressed as soon as possible.”

Globe, Castelo said, needs to continuously build cell sites, especially in relation to the deployment of the previously warehoused 700-megahertz (MHz) spectrum, which is seen not only to deliver additional capacity but also enhanced indoor coverage.

The company, however, is able to deploy only around 450 cell sites a year, even as it targets to build roughly around 1,000 towers annually, due to permitting challenges.




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