THE National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) said on Thursday that it collected P9.09 billion in 2021, exceeding its target by 72.4%.

“Target collection for 2021 was pegged at P5.27 billion. Actual collection, as of Dec. 31, was at P9.09 billion,” the commission said in a statement.

The NTC said it has been beating its targets since 2016.

The NTC is an agency of the Department of Information and Communications Technology. It regulates cable and commercial television operators, broadcast radio stations, telecommunications companies, and commercial and portable radio operators.

The NTC said the agency’s collections will help the government fund its priority projects in infrastructure, agriculture and rural development.

The Philippines’ major telecommunications companies have been pushing for lower spectrum user fees, which are collected annually from public telecommunications entities (PTEs).

PLDT, Inc., its wireless arm Smart Communications, Inc., and Globe Telecom, Inc. have expressed support for the recent approval at the House of Representatives of House Bill 9851, or the “Zero Spectrum User Fee for Telcos Using Wi-Fi Act.”

“This is (expected) to broaden the public’s access to WiFi technology, and eventually lower the cost of telecoms services for the public,” Globe said in a statement in November.

“Currently, spectrum fees imposed on PTEs are becoming unreasonable and excessive,” Roy Cecil D. Ibay, Smart Communications vice-president for regulatory affairs, said in a separate statement.

Globe General Legal Counsel Froilan Vicente M. Castelo said that the company has been actively seeking the lowering of spectrum user fees with the NTC and Congress, “since we believe that telecommunications is now an essential service that should be made more affordable for users.”

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Arjay L. Balinbin