President Rodrigo Duterte will soon sign an Executive Order that will streamline local permits needed for the construction of new cell sites in a bid to improve Internet speeds in the country, Department of Information and Communications Technology Eliseo Rio Jr. said.
“An EO is now ready for the President's signature that would ease the construction of new towers by removing the red tape in granting NGA and LGU permits,” Rio said in a Facebook post last Dec. 12.
Under the new EO, the government, through a PPP arrangement with a private tower provider, “will build common towers to be leased to the telcos, including the third player, who then will get more mobile frequencies due to better allocation policies.”
The lack of infrastructure is blamed for the slow speed of data access in the country.
Over the weekend, Palace officials announced that state-run China Telecom Corp. could become the Philippines’ third telecoms player, in a bid to stir up competition in an effort to boost notoriously poor Internet services.
During a recent bilateral discussion with Chinese leaders, Duterte offered Beijing the “privilege” of challenging a longstanding duopoly dominated by PLDT-Smart and Globe Telecom.
In his State of the Nation Address in July 2016, Duterte directed DICT to develop a national broadband plan to accelerate the deployment of fiber optic cables and wireless technologies to improve Internet speed.
The President approved the new plan in March. It will serve as the data backbone for the national government portal and free public Wi-Fi.