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Senate grants DITO 25-year franchise extension in 2nd reading

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On second reading last Wednesday, the Senate approved DITO Telecommunity’s franchise extension by another 25 years.

Currently, DITO Telecommunity is using the franchise of its then moniker, the Mindanao Islamic Telephone Company a.k.a MISLATEL, which is set to expire on April 24, 2023.

Under House Bill 7332, DITO must offer at least 30% of its stocks to Filipino citizens. The bill also requires the company to prepare an annual report on its compliance to the terms of its franchise, which they need to submit to Congress. DITO may face a Php1 million per day fine if they fail to do so.

For a quick background, DITO is 40% owned by a Chinese state-run company, which raised a lot of security concerns over possible illegal surveillance.

Sen. Grace Poe, the bill’s sponsor, allowed the amendment to require DITO to report to the President and Congress in case it discloses data or helps foreign governments, agents, and instrumentalities. DITO may have their franchise revoked if they violate this rule.

In case DITO has redundant frequencies, the bill also states that the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has the right to reallocate that. This part came from Senator Risa Hontiveros, who also proposed DITO to give regular security audits of its facilities and networks to Congress.

As of writing, DITO has already rolled out its prepaid services in select locations in Visayas and Mindanao. The company said they plan to release fixed broadband services in two years.

Via: CNN Philippines

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