Philcomsat franchise extended 25 years

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President Duterte signed into law the extension of the franchise of telecommunications firm Philippine Communications Satellite Corp. (PHILCOMSAT) for another 25 years.

Republic Act 11226, signed on 22 February 2019, a copy which was released by Malacañang on Friday, said the renewed franchise “includes the right and privilege of cable and wireless operations” such as telephone, mobile, cellular and wired or wireless telecommunications systems.

It also authorized to connect and keep connected its telco systems in the Philippines as well as other countries and territories.

“The grantee shall operate and maintain all its stations, lines, cables, systems and equipment for the transmission and reception of messages, signals and pulses in a satisfactory manner at all times and, as far as economical and practicable, modify, improve, or change such stations, lines, cables, systems and equipment to keep abreast with the advances in science and technology,” part of the charter read.

RA 11226 also orders the telecommunications company to secure a certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN) from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) as well as appropriate permits and licenses for the construction, installation and operation of its telecommunications systems or facilities.

It also mandates PHILCOMSAT to provide mobile number portability (MNP) — as mandated by Republic Act 11202 or the Mobile Number Portability Act — and its implementing mechanism and should interconnect, directly or indirectly, with the infrastructure, facilities, systems or equipment of other telecommunications franchise grantees.

A fully-owned subsidiary of the Philippine Overseas Telecommunication Corporation, PHILCOMSAT must also provide employment opportunities and allow on-the-job trainings, especially for residents where any of its offices is located.

The new charter bars the company from installing network features, functions or capabilities that will impede the implementation of a nationwide MNP system.

Its franchise will be deemed “ipso facto revoked” should it fail to continuously operate for two years.

About 35 percent of its shares are owned by the government, according to its company website.

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