The 53rd Meeting of the Telecommunications and Information Working Group (TEL) was held in Tacna, Peru, from 12-17 June 2016.
The TEL continued its work on developing a planning and prioritization work plan to take forward the work of the TEL Strategic Action Plan 2016-2020 endorsed by the Ministers. In addition, the TEL also identified areas of potential cross-fora collaboration with the relevant APEC fora on issues such as privacy and cybersecurity, disaster risk reduction, access for people with disability and facilitation for SMES. In line with its existing multi-stakeholder approach, three (3) roundtables on ICT Innovation, Connecting People and Things and Public Policies for ICT were conducted at the margins of the TEL53 meetings. Member Economies conducted three (3) workshops on (i) Social Inclusion of People with Disabilities; (ii) Facilitating Innovative Economic Development of “Internet+Service” Industry; and (iii) Promoting Secured Public Wi-Fi. The TEL also conducted a teleconference meeting with Chair of the Ad Hoc Steering Group on the Internet Economy (AHSGIE)
The TEL will next meet in October-November in Japan.
ICT DEVELOPMENT STEERING GROUP (DSG)
In 2016, there are approximately 3.4 billion Internet users globally – about 40% the world’s population. By end 2015, there are more than 7 billion mobile cellular subscriptions, corresponding to a penetration rate of 97%. Mobile broadband is the most dynamic market segment. Internet penetration is a key metric in efforts to reduce poverty and foster economic development and is part of the UN Millennium Development Goals.
The ICT Development Steering Group is focused on expanding broadband networks and deployment of advanced internet technologies in the APEC region. In 2016, the ICT Development Steering Group (or DSG) is working on the following initiatives:
Facilitating Innovative Economic Development of “Internet+Service” Industry (China)
The workshop provided a platform for APEC members to discuss internet economy-related issues, with a view to improving productivity in the traditional service sector by encouraging adoption of ICTs. The workshop included experience sharing by APEC member economies in the development of regulatory policies and infrastructure development, and technological innovations, application frameworks and development from the private sector on the adoption of ICTs in the service sector.
Social Inclusion of People with Disabilities
Peru (OSIPTEL), with the support of CONIDAS, organized a seminar for experts and regulators to share good practices, regulations and experience in facilitating access to telecommunications and ICTs for people with disabilities.
ICT Applications for People with Special Needs (Ageing and Disabilities)
This multi-year project co-led by Japan and Singapore and co-sponsored by Thailand, Chinese Taipei, the United States and the Russian Federation commenced in May 2013 to create a platform for knowledge exchange on innovation for assistive ICT applications for elderly and disabled people. Ongoing work include sharing of domestic experiences in implementation and manpower training of ICT applications for people with special needs. The project is expected to complete in May 2017.
APII R&D Test Bed Network Project (Japan, Korea) - Extension
Realization of future Internet technologies such as the New Generation Network (NWGN) will provide fundamental solutions to various network problems, such as network security and energy consumption. The National Institute of Information and Communications Technology in Japan (NICT) has conducted R&D activities and operates large‐scale test bed networks to establish New Generation Network (NWGN) technology through proof and evaluation. The test bed networks are widely available to industry, academia, and government as a technology assessment environment (test bed), and to promote the timely development of new applications and strategic international joint research and cooperation through connecting test beds in the Asia-Pacific. Some of the experimental research projects on the API test bed network include the World’s first trial of long-distance 8K video streaming transfer on a long distance IP network during the Sapporo Snow Festival 2014. Astronomers also relied on the network to transfer science data from telescopes to be archived in Japan and Hawaii for astronomers around the world to access.
APEC e-Government Research Center (Japan) - Extension
The APEC e-Government Research Center at Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan was established in 2005 to help provide solutions to various challenges of e-government. It also offers recommendations for the improvement of e-government implementation. The project is self-funded by Japan, Singapore, Thailand and Chinese Taipei. As part of the Center’s commitment to address e-government issues, the Center is working on e-APEC. The APEC Senior Officials' Meeting commissioned to the Pacific Economic Cooperation Committee (PECC) to provide an assessment of progress in implementing the e-APEC strategy. The main activities of the Center will be monitoring and assessing the e-APEC initiative, maintaining a data bank for e-government readiness for member economies and conducting trainings with a distance online system. The project is expected to be completed by May 2017.
LIBERALIZATION STEERING GROUP (LSG)
The group is focused on trade and investment liberalization in information technologies and effective policy and regulatory frameworks. This year, they are working on the following initiatives:
Regulatory Roundtable (hosted by Peru)
The Regulatory Roundtable at TEL53 was organized by Peru, with discussions on the theme of “Public Policies for ICT”. The presentations covered a range of issues on the challenges on public policy making for ICTs in many economies given the many agencies involved, the importance of inter-agency coordination for national policies, challenges in infrastructure development and ensuring access and use within each economy, and the critical need to develop an effective regulatory framework to ensure safe and secure access for all users.
Industry Roundtable (hosted by Peru)
“Connecting People and Things” was the theme for the LSG Industry Roundtable held at TEL53 hosted by Peru. The speakers included government and industry representatives who shared views on infrastructure development, including Cloud Computing to improve citizen services, spectrum development to improve citizenry’s assess and bridge the digital divide, and regulatory frameworks to facilitate and encourage technological innovation.
Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) Task Force
The 1998 APEC Telecommunications Mutual Recognition Arrangement (APEC-TEL MRA) is a multilateral arrangement between economies in the APEC region to facilitate the recognition of each other’s conformity assessment results. These arrangements are intended to streamline the conformity assessment procedures for a wide range of telecommunications and telecommunications-related equipment, facilitating trade among signatories to the APEC-TEL MRA.
Over the last seventeen years, this agreement has helped encourage innovation in the region and stimulated the growth of the technology sector. For international telecommunications companies, the APEC TEL MRA has reduced the number of hurdles for approvals of new technologies, provided local access for exporting entities by allowing in-economy testing and created the incentive to design products to international standards.
SECURITY AND PROSPERITY STEERING GROUP (SPSG)
The group is focused on promoting security and trust in e-commerce and networks and cybercrime prevention. They are working on the following initiatives:
Workshop on Promoting Secured Public Wi-Fi (Malaysia)
The workshop provided a platform for member economies to share their domestic efforts in the implementation of secured Wi-Fi to their citizenry and including sharing of tips and best practices for Wi-Fi security.
APEC economies have achieved the goal of tripling internet access in the region, originally set in the 2000 APEC Leaders' Declaration (the Brunei Declaration) and the goal of universal internet access by 2010. Economies are currently working to establish and implement policies to reach the goal of universal access to broadband by 2015.
The TEL has also been promoting the use of ICT for socio-economic development and recently conducted workshops on transfer of green ICT and disaster management. In addition, the TEL has been working towards trade and investment facilitation in ICT, including the implementation of MRA.
The MRA on Conformity Assessment of Telecommunications Equipment (MRA-CA) was established in 1998. It benefits manufacturers by reducing the cost of getting a product approved and by reducing the time taken for products to reach the market. It also benefits consumers by ensuring access to a variety of competitively-priced products. This ground-breaking agreement provides an opportunity to test and certify products one time to meet the requirements of multiple markets and ship products without further conformity assessment. This helps decrease the costs of getting a new technology approved and accelerates the time for innovative products to reach the market. For international telecommunications companies, the APEC TEL MRA has reduced the number of hurdles for approvals of new technologies, provided local access for exporting entities by allowing in-economy testing and created the incentive to design products to international standards. Over the past decade and a half, this agreement has helped encourage innovation in the region and stimulated the growth of the technology sector. See more information on the APEC TEL MRA.
The MRA TF completed the text of the MRA for equivalence of technical requirements in telecommunications equipment (MRA-ETR) to complement the MRA-CA, which was endorsed at the 8th Ministerial Meeting on Telecommunications and Information in October 2010.
Promoting a safe and trusted ICT environment is another priority for the TEL and various cybersecurity initiatives have been conducted by the TEL. In 2010, the TEL created and observed Cybersecurity Awareness Day on 29th October 2010 with exhibition of posters on cybersecurity, which will continue to be observed by TEL members every year.
The TEL has been also successful in its active engagement of the private sector and other international organizations to achieve synergies and progress work in areas of mutual interest. Many TEL projects are initiated and driven solely by the private sector, and others are joint private-public sector initiatives in collaboration with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the Global Business Dialogue on e-Society (GBDe), the Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC), the Internet Society (ISOC) and the International Telecommunications Users Group (INTUG).