MANILA—Globe Telecom has appealed to residents of gated villages in Metro Manila to allow telecommunications facilities inside their villages to further improve the delivery of mobile services.
“Given the enormity of the task of providing reliable internet access and sufficient bandwidth to support your evolving digital lifestyle, it has become imperative for us, your service provider, to seek your support so that we can work together to secure approvals and clearances from your HOAs and barangays. With twin issues of permits and right of way going on for several years now, you as residents and members of your respective homeowner’s associations are held equally responsible in ensuring your areas are covered by mobile signal and internet connectivity,” Globe said in an open letter published in several national dailies today.
Furthermore, Globe said cell sites do not pose any adverse risks to humans based on studies conducted by reputable health institutions.
“Your HOAs oppose our cell site applications most of the time due to alleged health hazards coming from the cell sites. Findings from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), both globally recognized and highly respected institutions who have the expertise in determining whether these facilities do impact health and well-being of the citizens in the area, attest to the fact that cell sites have no adverse effects to human health. Our Department of Health has taken all the necessary precautions in ensuring that even with global standards, the Philippine standard of thermal (heat) emissions from local cell sites are at least four times lower than what has been approved globally,” Globe further said.
According to Globe Chief Information and Technology Officer Gil Genio, the company is experiencing permitting issues for right-of-way and cell site deployment in the following villages: Corinthian Gardens, Dasmarinas Village, Magallanes, La Vista, Greenhills North, Corinthian Hills, Alpha Village, Pentagon Village, Capitol Hills Golf Subdivision, Xavierville 1, Loyola Grand Villas, Montgomery Place, Valle Verde 3, Valle Verde 4, Ayala Heights, Capitol Homes, Vista Real 1 & 2, UP Campus, Don Antonio Royale Estate Subdivision, Woodside Homes, Rolling Hills Subdivision, Hobart Homes, Don Antonio Heights, Alta Vista Village and Xavierville 3, Hillsborough, Forbes Park, Bel-Air, San Lorenzo, Green Meadows, Fruitville, JEE Village, BF Homes, Merville, South Bay Garden, Concepcion, Modesta, Jaybee, St. Mary’s Subdivision, Vista Real Classica Subdivision, Meteor Homes, Valle Verde 1, Kings Vill Executive Village, Smile Citihomes Condominium, Thomas Homes, and Vista Rio.
Genio said Globe is having difficulties in acquiring right of way for the deployment of fiber optic cables which impedes its ability to address customer demand for high speed Internet service.
Others reject right-of-way application as they are against construction or installation of structures within their respective villages. Some demand that Globe work out a co-location arrangement with Meralco for the joint use of its electric poles. However, Meralco isn’t amendable to such an arrangement most of the time.
He further disclosed that some HOAs unnecessarily favor a particular service provider by denying permit applications made by Globe on the basis that residents are already served by the other provider. “By standing in the way of our efforts to build more cell sites, these HOAs effectively favor one service provider over the others, thus, are in complicity in monopolistic practices. This is contrary to public service laws since Globe must comply with the same public service laws if a customer asks for service,” Genio said.
“We remain optimistic, however, that with government support, we will soon be able to work out an arrangement with HOAs concerned,” Genio added as he cited the recent signing of an inter-government memorandum of agreement on the issue.
The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that will help address right of way issues that hamper deployment of fiber optics in certain areas.
Under the MOA, the technical working group will review and recommend appropriate revisions or amendments on existing guidelines on the use of right-of-way, particularly the construction and establishment of telecommunication infrastructure and facilities such as fiber optic cables, cell sites, and other similar infrastructure and amenities belonging to mobile phone and internet service providers and which are situated over or underneath the government’s right-of-way, with the aim of making telecommunication services available to more Filipinos.
Specifically, the right-of-way technical working group will propose amendments to applicable rules and regulations with a view to effectively address issues and problems that beset telecommunication companies whenever they roll out ICT infrastructure and facilities. The proposal will be submitted to the DPWH for its consideration.
Globe has launched an initiative to create an Internet superhighway through rolling out two million home broadband lines with speed of at least 10 Mbps by 2020 to improve the state of fixed Internet in the Philippines.
Last year, it has rolled out over 260,000 home broadband lines with plans to deploy 400,000 ultra-fast broadband lines by end 2017.