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DICT backs House bills mandating lease-free internet installation

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DICT backs House bills mandating lease-free internet installation
There are also calls to remove the rental fees for broadband connectivity as internet services should have equal footing with water and electricity.
Image by fancycrave1 from Pixabay

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has issued an assurance to work closely with Congress for the reclassification of internet links as “public service”, which requires no rental payments for broadband connection.

DICT Assistant Secretary Renato Paraiso is referring to the bills filed at the House of Representatives that seek to amend the National Building Code of the Philippines. House Bill Nos. 900 and 8534 were filed by Reps. Christian Yap and Joey Salceda, respectively. 

"We make sure to participate in the discussions, especially in the Technical Working Group discussions of these bills," Paraiso said.

"But, all in all, we are very supportive and respect the direction of our legislation when it comes to what laws need to be passed," he added.

Enacting the bill will mandate developers and property owners to provide a space for telcos in all newly developed and existing projects.

There are also calls to remove the rental fees for broadband connectivity as internet services should have equal footing with water and electricity.

Paraiso said that the DICT supports the enactment of the said bills, including the lifting of rental fees for broadband connectivity.

"The DICT, for the record, supports that. We have to work within the bounds of the law, especially with the advent and the implementation of the Public Service Act," Paraiso pointed out.

"We have to find a way and we have to convince the lawmakers that broadband connectivity should be exempted from paying these fees; however, they should not be considered as public utilities, but rather as ‘public services," Paraiso added.

Following the mandate of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to boost the country’s digital infrastructure, “the DICT will continue with its efforts to strengthen the internet connectivity in the country, especially those in the Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged areas,” Paraiso said.

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