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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Poe wants restrictions lifted on common tower policy

Senator Grace Poe has warned against confusion to exisiting telecommunication companies and the public if the government bodies would not get their acts together on the issue of common towers.

“There should only be one voice on this matter, otherwise, it would send confusion to the telcos and the public,” stressed Poe, chairperson of the Senate committee on public services. 

Poe noted the strong opposition and the number of stakeholders against a draft memorandum circular on the issue of common towers.

“We need as much towers as we can have, which are compliant to safety and environmental standards,” she said.

She said restrictions set by the draft circular could limit the number of towers that may be built during the period, which run counter to the government’s aim of improving telecommunications infrastructure in the country. 

Poe said limiting the construction to two tower companies could also infringe on the right of the telcos with congressional franchises to build their own infrastructure.

TowerXchange, an independent community for global tower industry, showed that Asian markets with the highest number of cellular towers in the region implement a common tower policy that allows for more than two tower companies.

This policy, she said, should lead to breaking the existing telco duopoly, promote meaningful competition among players, and provide better internet service at affordable rates to consumers.

Earlier, Poe aired her strong objection to the proposal of presidential adviser Ramon Jacinto to limit the number of telco tower operators to two.

She branded it as “stupidity,” saying anyone who can build cell towers should be allowed to do so as long as the construction is regulated.

President Rodrigo Duterte said he is determined to break the duopoly in the telecommunications industry by allowing any foreign and local company to become the third player in the market.

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