Philippine government efforts to streamline complex processes around building shared telecoms infrastructure showed early signs of success, with more than a dozen additional tower companies expressing interest in establishing operations in the country.

In a statement, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said it received letters of intent from 13 new companies. The agency has existing agreements with 24 tower companies, most of which are non-domestic.

DICT secretary Gregorio Honasan said: “With everyone stepping-up, we hope to fast-track the build-up of telecommunication towers in support of President Duterte’s directives to fully address the Filipinos connectivity needs.”

In late July, DICT joined with eight other agencies to agree procedures to accelerate tower construction by simplifying processes, targeting a reduction in the timeline for building new sites from more than 200 days to 16 days.

Honasan noted the inter-agency efforts recognise ICT infrastructure improvements need to begin with reducing red tape, which “has long interfered with our mission of improving internet connectivity in the country”.

In late August, the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development updated guidelines for submitting applications for ICT infrastructure projects, including permits to build towers.

DICT detailed plans to speed deployment of 50,000 common towers over a seven year period in early 2019.