THE Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) on Thursday appealed to local government units (LGUs) and homeowner associations (HoAs) to simplify their permit procedures for telecommunications companies erecting cell sites.

The department also asked government agencies, state universities and colleges, and government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) to update their information and communications (ICT) equipment and software to optimize the use of available bandwidth.

In a statement, the DICT said streamlining the permit process will “support the accelerated rollout of cell sites and other ICT infrastructure for telecommunications companies and Internet Service Providers to benefit constituents and residents.”

It said LGUs and HoAs must do their part to address the need for connectivity during the pandemic.

“The DICT hopes that ICT infrastructure providers will be fostered at the local level to fast track their roll out and construction of much-needed infrastructure during this COVID-19 pandemic,” the department added.

Information and Communications Secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II was quoted in the statement as saying: “Internet access has become an essential utility in our collective efforts to significantly improve the public health situation. With that in mind, we should keep working together for the continued improvement of our Internet connectivity infrastructure.”

“Responding to our countrymen’s increased demand for connectivity is one of the President’s core priorities, and we encourage the accelerated rollout of more telco sites to promptly improve internet access,” he added.

The department also encouraged government institutions “to review and assess” their current ICT equipment and software.

“Updating ICT equipment and software is a step towards optimizing the use of available bandwidth, and minimizing risks associated with the use of old or outdated ICT hardware and software,” the DICT said.

“It is important to periodically check for updates in order to create a safe cyberspace for all, and to ensure that worries due to system bugs, lags, and errors are lessened during this time where government’s productivity relies heavily on ICT,” it added. — Arjay L. Balinbin