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ICT expert lays down challenges in meaning only a telco company with a

Philippines' digital infrastructure congressional franchise or a


provisional authority can build and
Two of the biggest telecommunication operate a network. New players who
service companies in the Philippines wish to offer similar services are
announced in June this year the required to access a telco facility.
coming of 5G. This fifth generation
wireless technology for mobile devices Related policies are also anchored on
is said to be the latest and fastest of its installment of landlines. She explained,
kind in the world. For broadband “If you’re a mobile cellular operator or
internet, the fiber optic technology is you want to put up an international
the most advanced available in the gateway facility, you are required by
country. law to deploy 300,000 to 400,000
landlines.”
An information and communication
technology expert argued this at The However, this requirement was
Romulo Foundation’s “Towards a established when landline was still the
Digital Future” convention supported main mode of communication in the
by PLDT Enterprise last November. country. This is not the case today.

Currently, the country runs on four There is also the restriction on foreign
regulatory policies on telco ownership. NTC requires companies
technologies and services. and even test emerging internet
technologies to be 60% Filipino owned.
There is the 1931 Radio Control Law,
which overseas how the National Inconsistent and unclear standards and
Telecommunications Commission can rules for data infrastructure are also a
assign spectrum. The 1936 Public negative development for new players
Service Act, which also looks at how a and technologies.
regulator supervises an industry, and
where the NTC gets its funding from. “Different local government units,
homeowners associations, buildings,
Challenges faced they all impose different requirements
and fees when service providers go out
Santos laid down the challenges that
there and try to install internet or
the sector has been facing. First is the
fiber,” Santos said.
fact that services are telco centric
Finally, the Better Broadband Alliance
convenor revealed that “some entities
are engaged in spectrum banking.”
Because of this, the Philippine
Competition Commission estimates
that only 12.8% of usable spectrum is
left for a new player.

“Can we open up new spectrum for


wireless technologies that are up and
coming and that promise to connect
our citizens?” she challenged.