‘Remove lease fees on in-building telco facilities’

Business.(Business File photo)

AYALA-LED Globe has been working with building owners and developers to scrap lease fees for in-building solutions.

Ernest Cu, president and chief executive officer of Globe, in a statement, called on real property developers to support its push for inclusive connectivity and remove lease fees on in-building telco facilities to give connectivity services equal footing with basic utilities such as water and electricity.

Cu said despite internet connectivity being essential, unregulated installation costs in buildings and establishments have become burdensome for service providers.

“When a developer starts building, they practically beg for power and water. Meanwhile, for us, we want to connect them, but they say ‘pay first.’ They actually put all the power facilities in the building to allow their tenants to connect. They don’t charge the water company for every faucet. Yet they want to charge us for every antenna we need to install,” said Cu at Globe’s R.I.S.E. 3.0 event, which gathered government partners and stakeholders for a united push for digital inclusion.

He shared how one developer wanted to charge a 300 percent increase in lease rates for telco facilities just as the Covid-19 pandemic was easing, apparently to cut losses.

Globe said it recently scored a win with a top hotel in Pasay City when the latter agreed to remove charges for in-building solutions and retained only its charges for outdoor connectivity facilities, cutting lease charges by 96.18 percent.

Cu commended building owners and developers who understand the importance of connectivity and include necessary facilities right from the planning stage of development.

Sought for comment, BE Group president and chief executive officer Grand Benedicto on Wednesday, April 10, said that it is a “big misconception.”

“For the BE Group, we provide for all in-building facilities which is heavy on capital expenditures. For hotels and resorts, telcos come in just like the electric company where they simply tap into our routers. For office and residential buildings, we provide for all the horizontal infrastructure, making it very easy for any telco company to connect, tap and provide the service to the unit owners,” he said.

Buds Wenceslao, chief executive officer of D.M. Wenceslao and Associates Inc., likened connectivity to being part of the canvas of a builder’s artwork, such as a township or commercial development.

“As real estate developers, we view our product creation as akin to painting a masterpiece, with connectivity and digital infrastructure serving as essential components of the canvas. Telco connectivity is not a luxury but a utility integral to our development plans,”

said Wenceslao.

For Cu, it’s all about stakeholders working together to provide inclusive connectivity.

“Let’s all work together to provide equitable connectivity across the country. The telcos cannot do it alone. We are very large facilities but we have over a hundred million people to connect. The government is doing its share, alleviating requirements and permits and giving incentives,” said Cu.

“We need members of the private sector who are very much interested in furthering the connectivity agenda. It’s only by working together that we can come up to speed with other countries out there that are truly digital,” the Globe chief said. (KOC with PR)


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