NTC urged to crack whip on telcos
MANILA, Philippines — The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) must compel telecommunications companies to speed up the construction of new cell towers to deal with the country’s growing needs for internet connectivity, which has been worsened by the pandemic, Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said on Saturday.
The senator said the NTC had not been able to take full advantage of the provisions of Bayanihan to Recover As One Act (Bayanihan 2), which streamlined the processes for the construction of cell towers.
“All the needed mechanisms are already in place to expedite the construction of telecommunication towers to improve internet services following the enactment last year of the Bayanihan 2. I see no reason why we continue to suffer from unstable and unreliable internet connectivity,” he said in a statement.
Gatchalian, vice chair of the Senate committee on public services, aired his dismay that the reported increase in internet speed has not been felt by Filipino users.
He said millions of Filipinos now have to rely on the internet for their day-to-day activities, such as for employees’ work-from-home needs, or for students’ online learning activities.
Data from the Department of Information and Communications Technology showed that 848 permits and clearances for cell sites in 264 cities and municipalities were still pending as of February.
A total of 2,860 permits and clearances in 460 local governments have been approved.
Gatchalian said the country still needed 50,000 additional cell towers to augment the existing 20,000 towers nationwide before it could provide internet connectivity to the entire country.
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