Globe Telecom advocates open access legislation to bolster broadband rollout

13 Jan 2016

Filipino operator Globe Telecom is backing a call for an open access law governing the telecoms market, in a bid to stimulate the rollout of broadband infrastructure and bolster internet data speeds across the country. The Standard newspaper quotes Globe president and chief executive Ernest Cu as supporting a call for the government to usher in new legislation ‘to mitigate bureaucratic red tape and other political hurdles that stand in the way of the deployment of telecommunication and broadband infrastructure’. Cu notes that typically his company has around 500 cell site permits held up in the overly bureaucratic systems as they await separate regulatory clearance. He argues that, amongst other things, an open access law could release the issuance of cell site permits more quickly, adding: ‘Prioritising the open access law for the telco industry would help fast track fibre builds that will increase internet access and speeds in the country.’

Mr Cu is also calling on the regulator to provide for the harmonisation and ‘equitable distribution’ of sought after 700MHz mobile spectrum frequencies to support increasing demand for mobile internet traffic as smartphone take-up accelerates across the Philippines. Globe Telecom and PLDT have both requested that the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) provision them with their ‘fair share’ of the valuable 700MHz spectrum, but San Miguel Corp (SMC), which controls the bulk of the available 700MHz bandwidth, earlier rejected the telcos’ request to share some of its frequency. SMC has its own plan to use the frequencies to invest up to USD1 billion in the rollout of mobile broadband services in the Philippines in partnership with Australia’s Telstra Corp. SMC’s president Ramon Ang is on record as dismissing the incumbents’ appeal, pointing out that: ‘Between the two of them [PLDT and Globe], they have almost 300MHz of LTE frequencies. Why do they need more?’ He added: ‘They have all the frequencies, all the technology. All they have to do is fine-tune what they have.’