Monday, July 24, 2017

NGCP stands firm on broadband issue

Published July 7, 2017, 10:00 PM

The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) said on Friday that it is not required to seek prior approval from the National Transmission Corporation (TransCo) for any project it may undertake that has something to do with its concession on the Philippine power grid.
NGCP spokesperson Atty. Cynthia Perez-Alabanza said that under applicable laws, rules, and regulations, the company, as the sole transmission service provider, is not required to seek prior written approval from TransCo for any project particularly on its operation, maintenance, expansion, or improvement of the power grid.
In a letter to Manila Bulletin, NGCP stipulated that, under Republic Act 9511 which grants it the franchise to operate and manage the country’s power transmission system for 25 years, telecommunication had been identified among its related businesses.
With that as a premise, it stressed that the proposed “broadband venture” cannot be considered as “other business,” hence, it does need to seek the consent of PSALM on this undertaking.
 “As provided in the Concession Agreement, NGCP has the right to engage in any related business in accordance with applicable laws,” Alabanza said. “This includes the Franchise Law (Republic Act 9511) which states that NGCP can engage in related business that involves maximizing the utilization of its assets.”
“Thus, NGCP can enter into an agreement with third parties to maximize the use of assets including its fiber optic network,” she added.
Citing Section 2.01 of the Concession Agreement, Alabanza further said that the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM) grants the concessionaire, on an exclusive basis, the rights and responsibilities during the concession period, and the right to carry on any related business in accordance with applicable law.
NGCP cited that under Section 1 of the legislated act on its franchise, it was emphasized that “the grantee is authorized to engage in construct, install, finance, improve, expand, rehabilitate and repair the nationwide transmission system and the grid of the Republic of the Philippines, ancillary business and any other related business which maximizes utilization of its assets, such as but not limited, to telecommunications system,” pursuant to Section 20 of Republic Act 9136.
 NGCP announced last month that it is now partnering with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) on the national broadband program – and that they are already nearing an agreement.
In cases where consent is required in the conduct of business outside the transmission business and related businesses, Alabanza pointed out that the consent must be obtained from PSALM and not TransCo. She stressed, these points have been made clear by NGCP in all its media briefings.

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