Faster permit processing helped improve PH internet speed: ARTA

MANILA – Philippines climbed from 111th to 86th this year in terms of internet speed according to global internet tester and analyst, Ookla, surpassing Russia and Malaysia this year.

Last July 2020, the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) in coordination with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and other government agencies, virtually signed and issued a joint memorandum circular (JMC) entitled “Streamlined Guidelines for the Issuance of Permits, Licenses and Certificates for the Construction of Shared Passive Telecommunications Tower Infrastructures (PTTIs).

The JMC prescribes the streamlined processes and requirements in the application of permits, licenses, and clearances for the construction of Shared PTTIs that will be constructed by Mobile Network Operators and Independent Tower Companies duly registered with the DICT, to facilitate the accelerated rollout of telecommunication infrastructure and service projects.

The memorandum has also cut the processing time from nine months to just 16 days.

“I am elated to learn of the news of the significant leap in the world ranking of internet speed by the Philippines. For the moment, I celebrate with all government agencies especially DICT, who toiled for the streamlining and faster processing of permits for the construction of more cell site towers. I am greatly encouraged that all of our hardwork to help the private sector in this area is starting to pay off for the people,” ARTA Director General Jeremiah Belgica said in a news release on Monday.

Belgica also recognized the contribution of the private sector in making this progress.

“The issuance of the JMC by ARTA, DICT, and other agencies, which streamlined the permits system and reduced the processing time from 8 to 9 months to not more than 16 days was indeed a concerted effort by the government and private entities as we all sought to heed the President’s call for faster internet speed for the Filipino People,” the ARTA czar said.

He added that the Bayanihan 2 (Bayanihan to Recover as One Act) has even streamlined and pushed “this same initiative further when it set at a minimum what permits and licenses may be required from telco companies building their cell site.”

Belgica said a supplemental JMC will be issued in the coming days “to harmonize the provisions and clarify the application of the first JMC as it is implemented together with the Bayanihan 2 provisions.”

He also vowed to continue the work to further improve the internet speed in the country.

“Madami pa po tayong kailangan gawin at ayusin. At sa munting tagumpay na ito ay ipagpapatuloy natin ang pag-monitor ng pagsunod ng lahat ng LGUs [local government units] at ahensya ng gobyerno sa direktiba ng ating Pangulo na pasimplehin ang proseso at pabilisin ang internet speed sa bansa (We still have a lot of things to do and fix. Through this small success, we will continue to monitor the LGUs and government agencies if they follow the directive of our President to simplify processes and have fast internet speed in the country),” Belgica said. (PR)