Leading integrated telco network PLDT Inc. (PLDT) and its wireless subsidiary Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) have reiterated their commitment to support the government’s initiatives to strengthen its partnership with the telecommunications sector.
At the recent Telco Summit 2022 led by the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) in Pasay City, representatives from PLDT and other telcos joined the ceremonial signing of the “Joint Declaration of Strengthened Strategic Partnership on the Telecommunications Sector” with representatives from the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD).
Delivering the company’s message on behalf of PLDT Group President and CEO Alfredo S. Panlilio, PLDT OIC Head of Regulatory and Strategic Affairs Atty. Joan A. de Venecia-Fabul emphasized the importance of partnering with the Government in achieving PLDT’s goals.
“The government has always been our valued partner in realizing PLDT Group’s goals, especially in facilitating the fast rollout of our fixed and wireless networks. This ultimately ensures the highest possible quality of service for all Filipino homes, businesses, communities, and institutions, and supports the government’s digitalization efforts,” she said.
“Through initiatives led by ARTA, the DICT, and other concerned government agencies, the process of securing permits and clearances has been streamlined. Fast-tracked by these streamlined processes, PLDT continues to expand the reach and capacity of its fiber infrastructure,” she added, noting that PLDT’s fiber-to-the-home services now reach more provinces–from upland areas like Bontoc, to islands like Romblon.
In his opening remarks, ARTA Director-General Ernesto Perez said: “Since the implementation of the Ease of Doing Business Law in 2018, the ARTA has introduced various programs and initiatives in order to streamline government processes and eliminate bureaucratic red tape. We have identified priority sectors which are vital for improving the business environment in the country, one of which is the telecommunications sector, which is a key player in the economy for it enables digital transformation, automation and expanded connectivity for all data users in the country.”
“ARTA, together with our partners from the government and the private sector, has made it possible to boost the telecommunications industry by issuing joint memorandum circulars that aim to expedite the processing of permits, licenses and certificates for the construction of telecommunications and internet infrastructure,” said Perez, adding that with the signing of joint memorandum circulars streamlining the permitting processes, the number of telco permits has significantly increased, resulting in improved internet connectivity. Since ARTA’s issuance of the JMCs, PLDT and Smart have secured more than 68,000 fixed and wireless permits as of October 2022.
Quoting the President, Perez also reiterated the administration’s commitment to its vision of a Digital Philippines: “The Marcos administration recognizes the importance of the telco industry and its critical role in the Philippine economy’s resurgence. We will achieve this by enhancing the country’s digital infrastructure, improving the regulatory framework for innovation, ensuring cybersecurity and developing the country’s digital workforce.”
In addition to operating the country’s most extensive fiber infrastructure, which has reached over 1.09 million kilometers in domestic and international fiber as of the end of the third quarter, and which supports Smart’s mobile network across the country, PLDT is also boosting the country’s ambition to become the Asia Pacific region’s hub for hyperscale investments, leading the capacity build with the construction of its 11th and largest hyperscale data center to-date, VITRO Sta. Rosa.
PLDT’s international submarine cable systems have also enabled the group to accommodate the massive data traffic going in and out of the country, further enhancing the Philippines’ position as a hyperscaler hub in the region.