CELLULAR TOWER construction is expected to accelerate after the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) issued a department order granting telecommunications firms use of the government’s right of way on national roads, Globe Telecom, Inc. said.

The order authorizes telcos “to construct and undertake excavations and/or restoration works” for information and communications technology infrastructure projects within the “allowable ROW (right of way) limits” of the national roads.

“With this, Globe sees faster network builds in the country after the government removed a major bottleneck that prevented telecom service providers from constructing crucial infrastructure projects along national roads,” the company said in a statement Wednesday.

Public Works Secretary Mark A. Villar issued Department Order No. 29 on March 23 “to facilitate the erection of infrastructure that will allow speedy expansion of telecommunication services and facilities while ensuring public safety, availability of government’s ROW, and the structural integrity of roads and bridges.”

The order lapses after three years.

According to Globe, the DPWH banned telcos in 2014 from erecting posts along national roads, citing the “imminent danger to lives and properties and hamper relief operations” during calamities.

“In October 2020, both the Department of Information and Communications Technology and the National Telecommunications Commission asked the DPWH to consider the proposed changes to the previous department order,” it added.

Globe said the restrictions “slowed down the rollout of critical telco infrastructure amid the rising demand for affordable, quality, and reliable” internet. — Arjay L. Balinbin