Senator Grace Poe urged telecommunications companies to continually fast-track the construction of cell towers and installation of fiber optic cables, as processes in securing government permits have already been shortened.

“We must not cease to work double time to ensure faster and better internet service to all our people across the country,” said Poe, chairperson of the Senate committee on public services.

The Ookla Speedtest Global Index recently indicated that internet speed in the Philippines continued to climb from the 122nd spot in April 2020 to the 84th spot in the same month this year.

Fixed broadband speed in the country increased to 58.73 megabits per second (Mbps) in May compared to 49.31 Mbps in April this year.

On the other hand, mobile speed in May reached 31.97 Mbps compared to 29.12 Mbps in April.

“We must not slow down in our efforts to provide connectivity to all Filipino homes.”

“We must not slow down in our efforts to provide connectivity to all Filipino homes who rely on it to survive and thrive in the pandemic,” said the veteran legislator who earlier reminded telcos to deliver services to unserved and underserved areas.

Republic Act 11494 or the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act provides for faster processing of government requirements for permits and clearances to enable telcos to expedite the building of internet infrastructure, cutting down the usual one-year approval to just seven days.

As of March 2021, 2,860 permits and clearances in 460 local governments have been approved, according to the Department of Information and Communications Technology.

The country, which has only 20,000 cell towers at present, is targeting to put up 50,000 cell towers in a bid to improve internet coverage.

At the same time, the seasoned lawmaker called on all concerned government agencies and homeowners associations to facilitate the construction and installation of internet infrastructure, including in areas where students and teachers are compelled to take risky spots just to get a signal.

“Unwavering collaboration by all sectors must be diligently pursued.”

“Unwavering collaboration by all sectors including the government and local communities must be diligently pursued,” the lady senator stressed.

She has pushed for amendments to the Public Service Act (PSA) as bill sponsor to be able to clearly differentiate “public services” from “public utilities” in a bid to allow more industries bound by equity restrictions to be opened up for foreign investments with proper safeguards.

“These PSA amendments have the capacity not only to help improve the quality of public services in the country, but also to transform the Philippines into a more globally competitive arena where Filipinos thrive,” Poe said.

“Napatunayan nating kaya nating magtulungan bilang isang bansa para makapagtayo ng imprastraktura ng internet sa iba’t-ibang lugar sa mas mabilis na panahon. Wala na dapat hadlang pa para matupad natin ang pagkakaroon ng konektibidad para sa bawat Pilipinong umaasa at naghihintay kahit sa pinakaliblib na lugar,” she concluded.


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