New DPWH policy streamlines rules to help increase telco tower buildup
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has released an order that seeks to fast track the establishment of telecommunications infrastructure in the country.
DPWH Department Order No. 29, s. 2021, issued on March 23, 2021, harmonizes DO No. 26, s. 2011 (Re: Policy On Diggings/Excavations by Private and Public Utilities on National Roads), and DO No. 73, s. 2014 (Re: Prohibited Uses Within the Right-Of-Way of National Roads).
The order was released in compliance with Section 4(ii)(1) of Republic Act No. 113 which pushes for the undertaking of measures for additional cell towers, equipment, software, and wireless technologies in the country to address the need for digital and connectivity, and internet speed and stability amid the pandemic.
Under D.O. 29, s. 2021, ICT (internet communication and technology) service providers are allowed to undertake excavations and restoration works for ICT infrastructure projects within the allowable right-of-way (ROW) limits of national roads.
ICT Service Providers are also now temporarily allowed to conduct digging or related construction works without the need to submit the requirements provided under DO No. 26, s. 2011, except for the posting of bond.
Department of Information and Communications (DICT) Secretary Gregorio Honasan II said the new policy “paves the way for the accelerated rollout of vital digital networks and infrastructure by addressing bureaucratic factors that hinder the efficient improvement of telecommunications as well as information services.”
The DICT had previously urged the DPWH to revisit and amend its policies to allow for a more conducive right-of-way regulatory framework following President Rodrigo Duterte’s call for telcos to ramp up their services during the 5th State of the Nation Address (SONA).