PLDT, Smart back new gov’t guidelines on streamlining fiber, cable permits

PLDT and its wireless unit Smart Communications Inc. (Smart) support the government’s initiative to further streamline the permit process, particularly for cable laying.

Led by the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA), National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), various government agencies signed JMC No. 1, Series of 2021, titled the “Streamlined Guidelines for the Issuance of Permits and Clearances for the Erection of Poles, Construction of Underground Fiber Ducts, and Installation of Aerial and Underground Cables and Facilities to Accelerate the Roll Out of Telecommunications and Internet Infrastructure.”

The issuance aims to simplify permitting process for the erection of poles, construction of underground fiber ducts, and installation of cables and facilities along national, local, and subdivision roads, including pavements and sidewalks. It also provides that there must be a Single Excavation Clearance for the erection of poles or construction of underground fiber ducts across all poles or ducts in a series.

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“As pandemic restrictions ease and the demand for internet connectivity continues to rise, we are one with our government in ensuring faster delivery of quality connectivity to more Filipinos nationwide,” said Alfredo Panlilio, president and CEO, PLDT Inc. and Smart Communications. “Government initiatives such as the streamlining of permitting guidelines, and future plans of creating ‘One-Stop Shops’ in LGUs for the processing of all kinds of permits, help expedite the expansion of our network across the country, particularly fiber.”

PLDT’s fiber infrastructure is at around 615,000 kilometers as of end-September. This fiber network also supports Smart’s mobile network, which serves 96% of the population from Batanes to Tawi-Tawi.

Since ARTA’s issuance last year of the Joint Memorandum Circular fast-tracking the issuance of permits, PLDT and Smart have secured more than 37,000 fixed and wireless permits as of Nov. 1.