The Department of Information and Communications Technology is setting its sights on speeding up the process of issuing permits for fiber optic cables for telecommunications companies and internet connectivity to further improve the quality and speed of connectivity in the country.
DICT Undersecretary for Digital Philippines, Emmanuel Ray Caintic, said they will zero in on the red tape in the permit process for laying out fiber optic cables to help the telcos and fixed broadband providers install cables throughout the country. They intend to apply what has been done in the cell site tower permits process by coming out with a joint memorandum circular with the Department of Interior and Local Government and other concerned national agencies for a streamlined permitting process.
“Right now, the permitting differs from one barangay to another. And there’s the reality on the ground where we hear some people asking for grease money. It’s chaotic,” he revealed, noting that the report also covers a number of homeowners associations that hindered the laying out of fiber optic cables.
Philippine telcos reported a 500 percent increase in data usage when lockdowns started last year because of the massive shift to online services as Filipinos adapted to the “new normal” amidst the numerous travel restrictions and lockdowns.
With much needed assistance from the government, telcos should be able to constantly upgrade and improve their services to fill the enormous demand for quality connectivity as this service is expected to remain critical for many more months in the face of a lackluster and chaotic response to the pandemic.
The private sector has been stepping up the best it can over most part of the year that is defined by the Covid-19 pandemic and the economic recession it has caused. Ensuring internet connectivity is the responsibility of the telcos but for them to continue providing that service and elevating its quality and reliability to world class standards, government also has to do more than just making demands and step up as well.*