THE Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said 13 more firms are interested in putting up common towers in the country, as the government steps up efforts to improve the quality of internet services.

“Presently, the DICT has received letters of intent from 13 additional tower companies who wish to register as ITCs (independent tower companies). This was a welcome improvement to the department’s existing agreements with the 24 tower companies, which are mostly foreign-owned,” the DICT said in an e-mailed statement.

DICT Secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II signed in May Department Circular No. 8 that sets the policy guidelines on common towers, which would provide “quality, efficient, fast, affordable, and secure information communications technology (ICT) services.”

“The need for an improved ICT infrastructure is still one of the major concerns of the government during this public health emergency, as the demand for internet connectivity surged among businesses, industries, students, workers, and the larger public. In view of this, the Department is focused on promoting faster telecommunications tower buildup through reducing tower permitting requirements,” the department said.

Under the guidelines, interested tower companies engaged in the business of establishing or operating one or more shared telecommunications towers should secure a certificate of registration from the DICT. Existing telecommunications companies with legislative franchise and certificate of public convenience and necessity or CPCN are exempted from the requirement.

Tower companies should have relevant construction experience, registration, license, and financial capacity, equivalent to a category A contractor or higher of the Philippine Contractors Accreditation Board.

The department had also launched the online portal,, to facilitate the application of interested firms.

In July, nine government agencies signed a memorandum circular to streamline requirements and speed up the process of securing permits, licenses and clearances needed by companies to build the shared telecommunication towers.

“These inter-agency efforts are initiated with the recognition that ICT infrastructure improvements need to begin with the reduction of bureaucratic red tape that has long interfered with our mission of improving Internet connection in the country,” Mr. Honasan said.

The DICT had pushed the concept of tower sharing to improve tower density, which is said to be one of the lowest in the region at 4,000 subscribers per tower. The common-tower policy means more than one telco can use a single tower, thereby increasing the number of subscribers being served by each tower. — Arjay L. Balinbin