Globe urges gov’t to help expedite installation of cell sites

By Aerol John Pateña

June 6, 2018, 10:14 pm

MANILA -- The Philippines would be able to achieve broadband Internet speed of at least 50 megabits per second (Mbps) for the next three years if the government wcan come up with policies that expedite the installation of cell sites across the country according to major telco firm Globe Telecom.

This, as Globe is eyeing to provide fiber broadband Internet with speed of at least 50 Mbps by 2020 should it be able to quickly deploy communication facilities.

“From Globe perspective, we really intend to provide two million homes with at least 50 Mbps by 2020, versus today where majority of homes have 2 to 5 to 10 Mbps,” Globe Chief Technology and Information Officer (CTIO) Gil Genio said during the recent Fiber-To-The-Home (FTTH) Council Asia-Pacific Conference held in Taguig City

“What we want to do and achieve is that by 2020, anyone who wants a home broadband connection should have at least 50 Mbps connection but the telco environment is not completely rosy,” he added.

Globe said bureaucratic red tape is causing delays in the issuance of permits from various local government units on the construction of telco infrastructure.

The firm likewise is having difficulties in securing permits in establishing right-of-way in subdivisions relating to the deployment of broadband fiber optic cables.

“Today, we have to go to each and every developer and convince them about the benefits of fiber. In rolling out fiber to homes, we need to work with electricity distribution utilities, homeowner associations, and others to be able to serve people with fiber faster and more efficiently,” according to Genio.

Homeowner associations of at least 25 exclusive villages in Metro Manila had barred Globe from constructing cell sites within their vicinity, preventing the telco from improving mobile and Internet coverage in those areas.

The lack of clarity on the proposed National Broadband Plan and Open Access Law, unfavorable geography, and bureaucratic red tape are some of the challenges in deploying telecommunication and broadband infrastructure.

Implementing an open access model will open the telco industry to local and foreign investors which will allow sharing of infrastructures resulting in the improvement of communication services.

“This is very important as we roll out more fiber. I believe the single biggest positive thing the country can do is to overcome obstacles in permitting and right of way so that we can build even more,” Genio said.

Globe has proposed the establishment of an independent tower company that will expedite the installation and deployment of cellular towers to further improve services while cutting costs substantially.

The towers to be erected would be open for lease to new and existing players in line with the government’s initiative to open the local telco industry to more competition. Globe's management reasoned that an independent tower company would help reduce the time needed for a new telco player to rollout given the 25 permits and up to eight months required to build one cell tower.

This proposal, however, was quickly rejected by Globe's main competitor.

For its part, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is set to sign an agreement with the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) and the Transmission Corporation (Transco) on the utilization of NGCP’s fiber optic cables for the implementation of the National Broadband Program (NBP) on Friday.

The NBP aims to improve the speed and accessibility of Internet services through accelerating the deployment of fiber optics and wireless technologies across the country particularly in areas that are not easily accessed by networks of existing telco players. (PNA)