NTC hails SP for reviewing telecom permit process

CAGAYAN de Oro is the first local government unit that is reviewing the permitting process for telecom companies, said National Telecommunication Commission (NTC) regional director Teodoro Buenavista.

During the meeting yesterday of the City Council committee on public utilities chaired by Councilor Teodulfo Lao Jr., the NTC official hailed the City Council for being the first to initiate efforts to simplify the process.

He said this is in line with the policy of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“In response to President Duterte’s call to streamline we are the first to respond,” he added.

The committee invited the NTC, the managers of PLDT, Smart and Sun Cellular Communications, Globe Telecom, and concerned department heads to discuss the proposal of Councilor Edna “Inday” Dahino to review pertinent provisions of Ordinance No. 9119-2004.

The ordinance establishes guidelines for the issuance of social acceptability endorsement for the construction, operation and maintenance of base stations of cellular mobile telephone service, paging service, trunking service, wireless local loop service and other wireless communication service.

SPECIAL REPORT

It may be recalled that in her special report last Monday, Councilor Dahino called for the streamlining of permitting process in the grant of authority to telecommunication providers to establish and install telecommunication towers in the city.

This is an offshoot of the meeting conducted by the committee on ways and means chaired by Councilor George S. Goking last January 31, 2017 with the NTC, and telecom companies.

It was revealed during the meeting that the existing telecommunications network infrastructures are inadequate to meet the requirements of a fast-growing city like Cagayan de Oro.

According to providers, this inadequacy is one of the root causes of slow internet speed. This is mainly due to the limited coverage as many subscribers are lumped into a condensed cell sites.

The Power learned that some networks have pending cell site projects.

The additional telecommunication projects that are still up for implementation will significantly improve their services. But according to the companies, what is delaying the expansion of infrastructure like cell sites, is the bottleneck in the permitting process.

There are at least 26 processes of various permits needed before a cell site can be constructed and most of these are reportedly coming from the LGU.

“With this current situation, I think it will take long for telcos to reach the scale of the good number of cell sites to a standard subscriber ratio,” Councilor Dahino pointed out.

ROLE MODEL

During the meeting yesterday, Engr. Buenavista said the move of the City Council to streamline the process is also being lauded by telecommunication companies.

He informed the committee that high ranking officials of Smart, Sun and Globe from Manila are willing to come to the city and sit down with the committee on this matter.

“Cagayan de Oro will be a role model for other cities,” he said.

The committee agreed to hold the meeting with officials of the telecommunication providers on February 22 at 2:00 in the afternoon at the City Council Session Hall.

Councilors Lao and Dahino thanked Dir. Buenavista for his support as the City Council moves to provide better services to the city’s constituents and to address poor internet connections and other concerns in Cagayan de Oro. (JAO/LCR)