DITO Telecommunity Corp., formerly Mislatel Consortium, is seen to delay its commercial operations over the complicated cell tower permitting process.
The rollout was already delayed from the company’s initial target of September 2019 to July 2020 to “put the network in place”, DITO chief administrative officer Adel Tamano said in a previous interview.
Lawmakers started to question DITO’s capability of fulfilling its promise to establish 2,500 cell sites by July 2020. ACT Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro urged Congress to summon Department of Information and Communication Technology and DITO officials to investigate the matter.
DICT Secretary Gregorio Honasan was also concerned about the capability of DITO to complete its rollout program before July 2020.
“DICT was concerned about the capability of DITO to fulfill its commitments as July is six months away,” he said.
The 2,500 cell sites would cover 37 percent of the whole Philippines with a minimum Internet speed of 27 megabits per second.
Industry providers emphasized the difficulty of building telco infrastructure, citing challenges such as multiple LGU permits for just one cell site that can take eight months to process.
LGU permits, homeowners associations, exclusive subdivisions and building administrators impose certain guidelines and requirements based on Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board Resolution No. R-626 issued in 1998. The lengthy process includes everything from negotiations and documentation of prospective cell site location to securing structural permits and approvals.
This complicated permit applications can cause further delay in the construction of DITO’s 2,500 cell sites.
The Philippines’ Anti-Red Tape Authority and DICT, in a bid to address the issue of delaying permits,
collaborated on the nationwide automation of government services with the goal of shortening the processing time for business permits.
The DICT also proposed the concept of tower sharing to improve tower density. With more than one telco sharing in a single tower, it follows that the number of subscribers being served by each telco increases.
The DICT already started to work on a new common tower policy in 2018 but the final draft of policy was delayed anew to February this year.