February 23, 2024

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The Philippines to Expand ICT Services for Rural Areas

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Officials from the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) were advised that they should make provisions for the final mile to give more people access to ICT services.in the proposed 2022 budget.  Instead of replicating or redoing efforts in places where Internet access is already available.

Political figures are committed to ensuring that the DICT keeps its promise to offer adequate and efficient service to all 89 million Internet users in the country over the next three years, or by January 2025. Senator Ralph Recto believes the government should focus on underserved and unserved areas. Instead of competing with telecommunication firms, he believes DICT’s primary purpose should be to support them.

According to the DICT, the country’s Internet penetration rate is 60%, though other sources believe it to be closer to 44%. The country now has 25,213 macro cell towers and roughly 127,000 tiny towers, equivalent to around 3,500 customers using each macro cell tower at any given time. The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) stated that the ideal number of Internet users per cell tower is 500, and that to attain this ratio, an additional 150,000 cell towers, in addition to the existing 25,213, are required to serve all 89 million Filipino Internet users.

Section 4 of the Bayanihan 2 law was crafted by Congress last year to simplify the processing of permits for the construction of cell towers in the country in response to the grievance of telcos. Drilon emphasised that DICT should make sure that they will follow through with their commitment and stick to their timetable.

“The immediate plan is to expand the number of micro towers since it is faster to compensate for the shortage of huge towers or macro towers. With the assistance of the telcos, we may be able to attain the [ideal] percentage in three years,” Senator Dela Rosa added.

OpenGov Asia reported, telecom regulators and operators experienced a rise in network traffic and took several measures accordingly to support customers. With this, the DICT has advanced its shared Passive Telecommunications Tower Infrastructure (PTTI) Policy by activating the country’s first common telecom tower under the Philippines business conglomerate, which will be used by the Philippines’ leading telecommunications company and mobile operator to benefit from this DICT initiative, following the push for the growth and development of ITC’s (Independent Tower Companies).

“Through the Common Tower Policy, we hope to widen the base of common towers and, thus, speed up the deployment of the internet across the country by allowing and encouraging telcos and Internet service providers to share cell towers. The government and the private sector need to work closely together in upgrading ICT infrastructures, such as cell towers, not just to improve the quality of Internet connectivity, but also to address the increasing demand for data generated by the millions of online users in the new normal,” according to DICT Secretary during the inspection of the first activated shared telecom tower this week.

The business conglomerate’s CEO for ICT asserted that the tower activated by the telecommunication company was a Rapid Deployment Station (RDS) Telecom Tower in Valenzuela City offering a faster set-up structure that incorporates the tower body, fencing, and foundation all in one. These structures can be deployed and dismantled in a matter of days, eliminating the need for extensive excavation and foundation construction.

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