LAWMAKERS on Thursday approved the proposed congressional franchise of newly organized corporation FICTAP Telecommunications, Inc.

In a plenary session, the House of Representatives approved House Bill 8972 or an act that will grant new player FICTAP a telecommunication franchise valid for 25 years.

If signed into law, FICTAP will be granted the authority to “construct, establish, install, operate, and maintain for commercial purposes and in the public interest, within the Philippines and between the Philippines and other countries and territories, wired and wireless telecommunications systems.”

FICTAP must obtain a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity and other required permits and licenses from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) in relation to the company’s construction and operation of its telecommunication systems and facilities.

The NTC will also review the proposed rates for FICTAP’s telecommunications services that will be offered to the public.

As an obligation to the public, FICTAP must maintain its services in a satisfactory way at all times and improve its systems to keep up with the advances in science and technology.

FICTAP should also improve and extend its services in areas that are yet to be served and in disaster-prone areas as determined by the NTC.

FICTAP President Estrellita Juliano-Tamano told BusinessWorld in a phone interview on Thursday that the corporation is “very happy” that the franchise application is seeing progress before the House of Representatives.

“We are different from other telecommunication companies applying for a franchise… we are seeking a congressional franchise to compete with the big telco players,” said Ms. Juliano-Tamano. — Gillian M. Cortez