PLDT-Smart, one of the biggest internet service providers in the Philippines, is calling for lower regulatory fees to help them further reach unserved and underserved areas in the country.

In a statement made last Tuesday, PLDT and its wireless arm, Smart Communications, are asking the government to implement “affordable and reasonable regulatory” so they can put more investment resources towards additional network infrastructure.

The call was made during the recent hearing held by the Senate Economic Planning Office for the Open Access in Data Transmission Act.

A Smart executive said in a statement:

If the goal of this bill is to ensure universal internet or data coverage, it must avoid the trap of not setting out the objective in the law and ensure that data facilities and the much-needed fiber find their way to the unserved and underserved areas,

Roy Ibay, Smart VP and Head of Regulatory Affairs

Ibay also said that they can expand in unserved areas if the roadblocks and costs imposed by particular local governments are removed. That includes inspection fees, audit fees, and tower fees.

The wireless company is also asking the national government to start charging uniform spectrum users fees that are based on a “per kHz per population.”

This can replace the existing wireless broadband formula that apparently “discourages and punishes deployment” of additional wireless facilities per station, per kHz computation.

Ibay added that in 2020 alone, Smart has spent Php2.4 billion just on fees. A sum of money could’ve been used on actual physical facilities to improve its reach and services.


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