Currently, Globe has a backlog of 3,000 cell sites amid varying degrees of permitting issues despite aggressive efforts by the company to investment in network facilities. To address this issue, the company calls out for the amendment of the Local Government Code to expedite issuance of all relevant permits for all telecommunication facilities at the local level.
According to Globe Chief Information & Technology Officer Gil Genio, bureaucratic red tape causes a significant delay in securing various permits from the local government units concerned relating to the construction of telco infrastructure such as cell sites.
Not enough cell sites
Based on the latest report of TowerXchange, the Philippines only has around 16,300 towers compared with Vietnam’s 70,000 towers. It takes at least 8 months to complete the approval process for the construction of one cell site, involving at least 25 permits. In addition to bureaucratic red tape, the absence of standard fees among local government units also breeds corruption.
Not to mention that each cell site tower has undisclosed fees of Php5,000 – Php200,000 depending on the LGU and location.
Aside from LGU problems, Globe highlighted that uncooperative villages or subdivisions also prevent telco providers from aggressively rolling out telecommunication facilities. Close to 30 villages and subdivisions have rejected cell site proposals made by Globe, effectively preventing the company from proceeding with its infrastructure builds. Approval from concerned homeowner associations (HOA) is one of the 25 permits that telecommunication providers need to secure for the construction of one cell site.
Other villages or subdivisions that rejected the company’s cell site proposal include TS Cruz Subdivision, Fruitville, BF Executive Homes Village, JEE Village, all in Las Pinas City; BF Homes, Merville, South Bay Garden Village all in Paranaque City; Vista Verde in Tanay, Rizal; Concepcion Village, Modesta Village, Loyola Grand Villas, Jaybee Village, St. Mary’s Subdivision, Vista Real Classica Subdivision, and Meteor Homes in Marikina City; Vista Verde Subdivision in Cainta, Rizal; Valle Verde 1 in Pasig; Kings Vill Executive Village in Antipolo, Rizal; Smile CitiHomes Condominium in Quezon City; Thomas Home in Valenzuela City; and Vista Rio Village in Cardona, Rizal.
Myth of dangerous cell sites
With residents having fear, most of the villages that have rejected the company’s cell site proposal due to alleged health risks associated with cell site towers. Some of these villages include Forbes Park, Magallanes Village, and Belair Village in Makati, Greenmeadows Village, La Vista, and Greenhills North in Quezon City.
Cleared by DOH
All Globe cell sites have been issued radiation-safety certificates by the Department of Health, proof that radio frequency signals coming from such facilities do not pose any adverse health impact.
Once the Local Government Code is put to implementation, it will ease up the process of infra permits due to a standardized platform is to be followed. Along with it is the elimination of red tape and redundant permits which prolongs the approval of each cell site.
Globe spends close to 30% of its revenues, significantly higher than capital expenses by other operators in the Asian region to fast track improvements on the state of internet in the country.