Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Globe Telecom’s Proposed Open Access Law Possible as Priority in Next Congress
The Congressional Policy and Budget Research Department (CPBRD) of the House of Representatives may include in its priority list in the next Congress the proposed Open Access Law of Globe Telecom for the telecommunications industry.
In a letter to Globe, CPBRD requested for additional details on the telecommunication company’s proposal of an Open Access Law as a way to mitigate bureaucratic red tape and other political hurdles that stand in the way in the deployment of telecommunications and broadband infra such as cell sites.
Globe General Counsel Atty. Froilan Castelo emphasized that an Open Access legislation for the telecom industry would help minimize bureaucratic red tape and expedite the issuance of all relevant permits for all telecommunication facilities at the local government level. “Legislation of an Open Access law is extremely important if we are to support growth and development of the next generation. The interest that the CPBRD has shown for our proposal further motivates us to remain aggressive in developing a robust telecom infrastructure that we hope will support business capabilities of local industries,” Castelo said.
According to Castelo, the quality of existing telecommunication infrastructure in a given locality is oftentimes a direct result of the LGU permitting environment. He pointed out that securing different permits at LGU level could become very challenging, from the sheer number of permits to the different political personalities that mobile operators have to deal with.
Castelo emphasized that permit or regulatory fee imposed by various local government units should cover only the reasonable costs of regulation. Prior to enactment of any pertinent ordinance, local government units concerned should be mandated to present itemized proof of said regulatory costs. A public hearing involving telecommunications companies and other stakeholders within their jurisdictions should also be conducted prior to the enactment of any local ordinance. Also, when these costs are requested in writing, a local government unit should also respond with the requested information in writing.
CPBRD also requested for details of Globe Telecom’s stand on the reallocation of the 700 megahertz band, the 90 MHz of which is currently underutilized. Globe is advocating for the immediate harmonization and equitable distribution of the 700 MHz of frequency to sufficiently provide for rapidly increasing data traffic amid growing smartphone use in the country.