The National Telecommunications Commission on Monday wrote the DICT, DILG, DPWH, DHSUD, and ARTA requesting the inclusion of fiber optic networks in the streamlining of permitting processes similar to the agencies’ Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 1 s. 2020 on Telco Towers.
Alongside Common Telecommunication Towers, fiber optic networks are equally important in providing the much-needed telecommunication infostructure. In addition to right-of-way concerns, the number of permits and licenses, lead time, and processes of rolling out these networks are similar to the applications for permits and licenses of cell towers prior to JMC No. 1 s. 2020.
Streamlining these processes is expected to significantly improve the country’s connectivity, the importance of which is felt now more than ever due the COVID-19 pandemic. A seamless integration of the fiber optic cable with wireless technologies is critical for the country’s national broadband network
Both PLDT and Globe are fast-tracking their rollout of fiber internet throughout the country due to the increased demand during the COVID-19 pandemic. PLDT now has a fiber-optic network spanning 360,000 kilometers, while Globe, claims that in August, its fiber roll-out went up more than 50 percent compared to 2019. Meanwhile, Converge ICT’s fiber network now spans over 35,000 kilometers in Luzon with a target to cover 55 percent of households nationwide by 2025.
Expanded fiber roll-out of telcos is expected to be done progressively in 2021 due to the increase in demand and the entry of DITO Telecommunity.
The request comes after NTC’s letter to DPWH Secretary Mark A. Villar to consider the proposed amendments to the existing rules and regulations of DPWH Department Order (D.O.) 73 on the right-of-way. The present permitting requirements and processes and right-of-way issues remain to be the principal cause of delays to the telcos’ nationwide roll-out preventing them from building the critical backbone and last-mile connectivity.