Poe denies ‘singling out’ Dito after deferred franchise renewal
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Grace Poe on Tuesday denied “singling out” Dito Telecommunity after her panel deferred its franchise renewal pending concrete assurance that it would be able to deliver on its commitment to the government.
“We’re making it more transparent for the people and also for the executive to be able to see their progress. We are not singling out anybody, we do this assessment also for Globe and Smart,” Poe said in an interview over ABS-CBN News Channel.
She was asked about possible criticisms coming from supporters of Dito that the senator may be “singling out” the country’s third telecommunications player.
“We have to look at the performance of all of these major telecommunications companies, especially right now, with our connection, we cannot risk not having a better connection service otherwise our economy will stall,” Poe went on.
“I think that it is really incumbent upon us to look at the deliverables and the commitments of all telco companies,” she added.
Dito is a consortium of Davao businessman Dennis Uy’s, a close ally of President Rodrigo Duterte, Udenna Corporation and its subsidiary Chelsea Logistics Corporation, and Chinese state-owned China Telecommunications Corporation.
It currently holds a congressional franchise granted to Mindanao Islamic Telephone Co. in 1998. The franchise will expire in 2023.
“As of now, the tone that they have is that initial deliverables will be met by January, we’ll see if that will happen,” Poe said.
“If they have it by January, that would be a good indication that they’re franchise will be approved. They have until 2023 [to secure a franchise]. Hopefully, that should be enough even to their investors to know that they have the capability,” she added.
Dito earlier committed to cover 37 percent of the population in 2020 and provide an average speed of 27 megabits per second (mbps). Due to the pandemic, it was given until January 2021 to deliver on its initial commitment.
By 2024, Dito should have an 84-percent coverage and offer a minimum average internet speed of 55 mbps.
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