The 50th Meeting of the Telecommunications and Information Working Group (TEL) was held in Brisbane, Australia from 20 September-3 October 2014.
TEL compiled its 2014 Annual Plan and started to develop its Strategic Plan for beyond 2015. TEL’s subgroups are working on the following initiatives outlined below.
ICT DEVELOPMENT STEERING GROUP (DSG)
The current global internet economy boasts 2 billion users with USD 8 trillion per year in e-commerce which accounts for approximately 3-6 per cent of GDP, according to a 2011 McKinsey report on the G8 economies plus China, South Korea, Sweden, India and Brazil. Internet penetration is a key metric in efforts to reduce poverty and foster economic development and is part of the UN Millennium Development Goals. As such, the ICT Development Steering Group is focused on expanding broadband networks and deployment of advanced internet technologies in the APEC region.
This year, the ICT Development Steering Group is working on the following initiatives:
APII R&D Test Bed Network Project (Japan, Korea)
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)
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.
Interoperability and Flows of Electronic Documents (Russia)
Ensuring secure cross-border transfer of electronic documents will provide the population with an opportunity to access new innovative services, such as telemedicine, remote education, or e-auctions. Meanwhile it is necessary to protect rights and legitimate interests of the citizens and organizations under the jurisdiction of various economies, including on the platform of international information security. One of the main barriers to secure cross-border electronic environments is the heterogeneity of types of ICT infrastructure across economies for electronic documents interchange and the lack of the international standards for interoperability. To advance discussion of these issues, Russia organized a “Workshop on Interoperable ICT: Semantic, Linguistic and Other Aspects,” which was held 16 September 2013 on the margins of TEL 48. The workshop focused on two broad questions: (1) general lessons we might learn from ICT about interoperability and (2) areas where such ideas might be applied to other fields. The workshop convened experts on ICT Interoperability to try to draw the experience of engineers to frame some general lessons but not a complete view of interoperability, which could be further developed by experts in other fields.
Other Current Projects include:
- Workshop on “Enhancing Business Competitiveness and Growth through Data & Analytics.” (Singapore)
- ICT Applications for the people with special needs (aging and disability) (Japan and Singapore)
- Deployment of Multi-Language Email Address Technology (China)
- Importance of IP Peering (Japan)
- Mobile Network and Internet-Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC)
- Upgrading to Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) deployment in order to facilitate broadband infrastructure, ubiquitous network development and economic growth. (Chinese Taipei and US)
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:
Leveraging ICT to Promote SME and Micro-enterprise Growth (Malaysia)
This project, self-funded by Malaysia, promotes the development of the ICT Revolution to stimulate the growth and competitiveness of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and Micro-Enterprises. ICT and internet technologies have helped SMEs grow and compete globally with the ability to reach new customers across the world. It has also improved the effectiveness and productivity of SMEs. Participants shared best practices and challenges, agreeing to develop a framework to assist SMEs and micro-enterprises leverage ICT. For example, Japan’s Cloud Test bed Consortium, consists of 61 SMEs. The SME and Venture Business Support Project for Creation of Advanced Cloud Services facilitates SMEs to create cloud services by taking advantage of Japan’s powerful network technologies. Google shared success stories on how ICT adoption has enabled SMES to work in innovative ways. For example, Google Cloud Service offers a resilient infrastructure to store data or host websites and applications for SMEs.
Quality of Service for Regulators (Indonesia)
Self-funded by Indonesia, this project surveyed APEC economies’ regulatory framework and requirements for telecommunications service providers, including quality of service rules and regulation scheme, consumer protection measures as well as agencies responsible for implementing and enforcing these rules and regulations. A workshop was also organized for regulators and policymakers for capacity building on telecommunications regulatory frameworks.
Regulatory Roundtable (hosted by China)
The theme was “Promote the Internet Economy through ICTs.”
- Internet economy foundation and ecosystem (the definition, the concept, the driving forces and the development principles and policies).
- The innovative development of the internet economy (the innovative development of new models of internet economy, such as integration of ICTs and automotive technologies, mobile internet business model, search as service etc.)
- The integral development of the internet economy with industry and service sectors (internet consumption, the integration of ICTs and internet with industry and services sectors, such as smart home, e-commerce and internet finance).
- The internet economy and inclusive development (digital Leap-frogging and ICT-driven transformation in China and boosting SME productivity and growth through information technology, such as some successful stories on how ICTs and the internet benefited SMEs.)
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 sixteen 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.
The recent MRA Task Force focused on the following initiatives:
- Reviewed and drafted market surveillance best practices.
- Updates on the market surveillance scheme of APEC members.
- Readiness to implement MRA for Equivalence of Technical Requirements (MRA-ETR) and systematic plan to implement it.
- CAB Accreditation & Quality Assurance: The mechanism of handling intentional and unintentional incorrect/false reports.
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:
APEC Training Program for Preventive Education on ICT Misuse – Phase II
This project, self-funded by Korea, focused on preventive education on ICT misuse as well as cyber security awareness in Indonesia in 2013 through ICT training in APEC economies. The project included train-the-trainer workshops as well as end-user training workshops for kids and parents on the responsible use of ICT. The project also worked on developing an effective e-module for parents, teens and kids to prevent ICT misuse as well as legal implications for electronic information transaction with agreements.
Other Current Projects:
- Security of Mobile Devices (Malaysia)
- Comparing Approaches to Combating Botnets
- Review of the APEC’s Strategy to Ensure a Trusted, Secure, and Sustainable Online Environment (TSSOE)
Cybersecurity Awareness Raising Activities:
- APEC TEL Cybersecurity Awareness Day Preparation (at the end of October following the next TEL 50)
Initiatives with other Organizations:
- Collaboration with OECD Working Party on Information Security and Privacy (WPISP)
- Collaboration with Asia Pacific Computer Emergency Response Team (AP-CERT)
- OECD-APEC Symposium on Security Risk Management in the Internet Economy
- Review of OECD 2002 Security Guidelines
- Improving the International Comparability of CSIRT Statistics (CSIRT: Computer Security Incident Response Team)
The Telecommunications Ministerial Meeting is scheduled for 25-31 March 2015. The next TEL 51 meeting will be held in May 2015 on Boracay Island, the Philippines.
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 organisations 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).
Nur Sulyna ABDULLAH (Ms)
Director, International Affairs
Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission
Noraini Noor Khan (Ms)
Assistant to the Chair
Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission
Karen YEO (Ms)