Antitrust body, key agencies sign pact to improve telco and Internet service


The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) said its latest joint memorandum circular (JMC) with the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) will pave the way for better access to telecommunication services nationwide.

PCC said the JMC is meant to streamline the processing of permits and allow infrastructure sharing to expedite the rollout of telecommunications and Internet infrastructure.

This means the JMC will allow the sharing of existing poles and other physical infrastructures, and prohibit anti-competitive acts relating to their access.

“Cutting red tape and sharing of essential infrastructure lower the barriers to entry and unlock market efficiencies. The pro-competition features of the JMC will provide relief to millions of subscribers through improved telecommunication services,” said PCC Chairman Arsenio M. Balisacan.

PCC explained that the JMC requires owners to provide other market players access to these infrastructure facilities on a non-discriminatory basis and prohibits them from giving preferential access to related firms.

The anti-trust body said the refusal to grant access should only be based on objective, transparent, and proportionate criteria, such as lack of technical suitability and available space.

As one of the oversight agencies, the PCC is tasked to prohibit anti-competitive acts in relation to the JMC, and to adopt rules detailing the procedure for access requests and transparency of information concerning poles and other physical infrastructures.

“To achieve a truly inclusive connectivity for Filipinos, competition should be present in the different aspects of operations in the telecommunications sector. Through the JMC, the increase of market players at the network level is now complemented by the accelerated rollout of infrastructure on the ground,” added Balisacan.

This week, ARTA and DICT signed their JMC No. 1 together with the PCC, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Public Works and Highways, and Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development.

Other agencies that signed the JMC are the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, National Telecommunications Commission, Energy Regulatory Commission, and National Electrification Administration.

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