Common tower policy draft to be released this month —Honasan

 The policy draft on the government’s common telecommunications tower initiative is on track to be released this September, the top official of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said Monday.

“Within the month, baka meron tayong first draft na ng common tower policy,” DICT Secretary Gregorio Honasan II told reporters on the sidelines of the BusinessWorld Industry 4.0 Summit.

Last month, Honasan said the first draft will be completed in two months, as the agency wants all industry stakeholders to be heard and their inputs included in the draft.

The DICT has conducted several stakeholders’ meetings under Honasan, and under then-Acting Secretary and now Undersecretary Eliseo Rio, Jr.

“We are now crafting the common tower policy, pero ang ginawa natin, hindi tayo nakipag-meeting sa ‘yung mga nag-o-offer ng services to build towers, hindi isa-isa,” Honasan said.

“We got all of them, stakeholders’ meeting ang tawag namin. Walang open forum doon … magsalita lang kayo nang magsalita, and then we went back to the drawing board.”

Originally envisioned to be finalized by the second quarter of the year, the common tower policy seeks to free telcos from costly capital expenditures on telecommunications towers.

The DICT has been at odds with Presidential Adviser on Economic Affairs Ramon “RJ” Jacinto, who last year said the government needed to accredit only two common tower companies.

Jacinto has since taken the position of accommodating up to four common tower providers, but maintained that existing telcos be prohibited from building their own infrastructure.

The DICT has remained firm that the market would dictate how many common tower providers should be accredited.

“This is beyond personalities. Whether it’s RJ or Honasan or somebody else, we’re talking about policy. This is beyond personalities but I have to tell you, DICT is in charge of policy, no one else,” Honasan said.

“Let’s say if the good Secretary Jacinto advises the President on economic and ICT matters, policy is the domain of the department which I now head, and we will of course invoke that, with all due respect to secretary,” Honasan added. —VDS, GMA News

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