Gov’t not interested in being 3rd telco player

November 28, 2017 at 13:30

Gov’t not interested in being 3rd telco player

By:  |  / 05:18 AM November 27, 2017

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) vowed that the government would not establish a competing telecommunications player, saying it could support competition in the sector in other ways.

Acting Communications Secretary Eliseo Rio Jr., in a social media post, cited the lessons learned from previous efforts such as the Telecommunications Office, which has since been abolished, and Telepono sa Barangay, which failed to lure critical support from the private sector in the early 2000s.

Moreover, President Duterte has signaled last week that he preferred that a Chinese telco company would enter the Philippines to challenge PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom.

“Under my watch, the government will not be a third telco, knowing the dismal results when it tried to be one,” Rio said.

Rio, a former general of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said the only successful state-led telco effort was the AFP Signal Corps, which he used to run. But he noted it was likewise manned by the biggest technical service within the AFP, with around 27,000 officers and men.

Rio said the government still needed to invest in new ICT infrastructure.

He again cited initiatives such as a planned agreement with the state-run National Transmission Corporation of the Philippines (Transco) and its private concessionaire, National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), to use their nationwide fiber optic network to reach far-flung areas without traditional telco services.

He also cited the Luzon Bypass Infrastructure, which will be operational by 2019. It will consist of two landing stations in Luzon that will be connected to a submarine cable to be built by social media giant Facebook. This will deliver some 2 terabits per second of capacity.

Those steps, along with components of the National Broadband Project, are seen to entice the entry of more small internet service providers and provide better and more inexpensive internet to the public.

The DICT is also tapping the public-private partnership (PPP) scheme for the construction of new cell towers, he said.

Last month, Transco president Melvin Matibag said the owner of the country’s power transmission assets wanted to enter the telecommunications business.

Matibag had said that they would seek an amendment to the Transco charter, apply for a congressional franchise to operate a “full telco business” and possibly bring in partners.

Rio, when sought for comment, explained that it was his understanding that Transco would seek “a private franchised telco player, offering its fiber optic cable as its contribution to that partnership.”

“Definitely, that partnership can’t be called a government telco,” he said.


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