DICT Philippines considers investments in common towers

08 June 2021

The Philippines' Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) could invest in building a common tower infrastructure to hasten the rollout of internet services, while expanding mobile services to the most remote and underserved areas of the islands.

According to local reports, the DICT wants new independent cell towers, which would be built and managed by third-party companies and can be leased by several telecommunications providers.

Emmanuel Rey Caintic, the DICT undersecretary for Digital Philippines, said the agency is working with congress on legislation that will allow the department to utilise ringfenced funds from the spectrum users' fee reserved for the deployment of free Wi-Fi in public places, for building common infrastructure in commercially unviable places.

"DICT wishes to invest in common towers for ‘missionary’ sites, complete with radio access network and internet protocol backhaul," Caintic said. "To address permitting delays in ongoing builds of fibre-optic networks, we are drafting a new Joint Memorandum Circular to streamline the permitting process. Fibre networks are critical in operationalising broadband services."

The Philippines has 22,405 towers as of November 2020, according to data from the National Telecommunications Commission.