Press Release
September 24, 2020


Sen. Grace Poe has asked telecommunications companies to expedite the construction of connectivity infrastructure to improve internet service for children and students who need to rely increasingly on online education.

A survey conducted by the Asian Development Bank Institute revealed that 46 percent of Filipino families with children are not attending school because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the second highest number in its survey of eight ASEAN nations next to Myanmar.

"Telcos need to improve internet services now more than ever. Education is key in lifting people out of poverty. Keeping them deprived of internet services is akin to condemning them to poverty," Poe said.

Bayanihan 2 cuts down the processes for getting permits by telcos, which are now suddenly overwhelmed by quick approvals and timelines.

"The pandemic only underscored the heightened need for better internet service for students and people working from home. Connectivity, on its own, is not the great equalizer but it's crucial," Poe said.

At the hearing yesterday, the chairperson of the Senate committee on public services invited various government agencies to the franchise hearing to provide information on telcos' compliance to regulations.

"We grant a franchise only after establishing that there is a public need for such a service and that the applicant has the means to adequately provide it. We want to make sure that all applicants are fit to offer their avowed public service so as to encourage competition and drive companies to provide better service," Poe said.

The franchises of Bayan Telecommunications Inc., Cruz Telephone Company Inc., and Tandag Electric and Telephone Company Inc. were on the agenda at the hearing.

Poe asked telcos for their targets and concrete plans in rolling out infrastructure in the last quarter of the year to ensure that they are taking advantage of supportive regulations to fast-track improvements in their services.

The senator also called on major players to strengthen their partnerships with small telcos in the provinces, especially in remote areas, to make them most beneficial to subscribers.

A major telco player said it costs roughly P15 million to build a cell tower.

News Latest News Feed