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DITO eyes building cell towers in public schools

DITO Telecommunity, the country’s third telco player, said it was “negotiating” an agreement with the Department of Education (DepEd) to build cell towers in public schools.

Should the proposal be approved, DITO chief technology officer Rodolfo Santiago said the third telco could build facilities within school premises while providing access to “immediate internet connection.”

“We’re negotiating with DepEd to allow us to co-locate our base stations in some of their facilities. We’re hoping that this is a mutual opportunity because we would be able to provide coverage to areas that will need it. DepEd on the other hand will have immediate connection and immediate internet service,“ Santiago said.

The proposal comes as the country’s education system shifts to distance learning which includes online classes.

READ: Online classes in public schools only ‘supplementary’ in first quarter

The DepEd has confirmed receiving DITO Telecommunity’s proposal but the matter is still being reviewed by the education department’s legal team, Undersecretary Alain Pascua said.

“We are open for such kinds of agreement, as long as the safety of students, teachers and personnel, that’s number one non-negotiable,” Pascua said.

Pascua said among the benefits being offered by the company include internet bandwidth, SMS, data, and shared power from telco towers.

“We’re looking at these considerations,” he said.

Some lawmakers have expressed concerns over DITO’s cell tower-building deals due to its ties with state-run China Telecom, raising fears of espionage.

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