In photo: office logo of the Department of Information and Communications Technology. Courtesy of www.intelligence-sec.com

By Maria Katreena Saguid

More cell sites would result to faster internet, smoother traffic and decongested roads, Undersecretary Eliseo Rio Jr. of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said during the Sept. 22 hearing of the Senate committee on public services.

The committee led by Sen. Grace Poe is currently deliberating whether or not it would grant emergency powers to the President to address issues on traffic and congestion in cities across the country.

“We are spending 2.4 billion a day in Metro Manila and in Metro Cebu, it’s around 247 million,” Rio indicated. “While the main cause [for this] is the [number of vehicles] competing for [road space]”

“There are two obvious solutions to the [traffic] problem in our country,” he added, telling the Senate to increase the infrastructures and infostructures.

According to Rio, increasing infrastructures meant improving the road and train system and the mass transit system while increasing infostructures entailed building more cell site towers to improve internet speed in the country.

With the a strong and reliable telecommunications network, consumers will no longer have to leave their homes to make a living since there a jobs that could be done online, Rio said.

He also added that enhanced online service would allow people to pay bills and taxes via Internet.

“We need the emergency powers for the president to oversee the red tape for permits being granted in the government,” Rio explained. He said that it takes 25 permits to put up a cell site tower with one permit taking as long as one year.

“We have less than 20,000 cell sites,” Rio said juxtaposing the Philippines with other Southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam, which has 55,000 cell sites and Laos, which has 30,000.

“We need at least 67,000 cell sites to improve our internet access,” Rio disclosed. Asked however by Poe whether this was indicated in the emergency powers for telecommunications, Rio answered with a negative.

Rio believed that an executive order was already sufficient for this.



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