The APEC Telecommunications and Information Working Group (TEL) aims to advance the development of information and communication technology (ICTs) infrastructure and services as well as to promote cooperation, information sharing and the development of effective ICT policies and regulations within the Asia-Pacific region. It also aims to enhance social and economic development through the effective use of ICTs as well as to promote a secure and trusted ICT environment.

The TEL aims to ensure that all people in the Asia-Pacific region have affordable access to ICTs and the Internet. In 2000, Leaders set the Brunei Darussalam goal of universal Internet access by 2010; the 2008 TEL Bangkok Declaration affirmed the commitment to achieving universal access to Broadband by 2015; and the 2010 TEL Okinawa Declaration set the ambitious goal of access to next generation high speed broadband by 2020, to further enhance the growth of knowledge-based economies in the APEC region.

The TEL supports the Bogor Goals to achieve open and free trade and investment in the APEC region by 2020, including the fields of ICTs. In addition, the TEL contributes to the discussions at the Ad Hoc Steering Group on the Internet Economy.

The TEL conducts its work programme through the following steering groups:

A Mutual Recognition Arrangement Task Force (MRATF) was created under the LSG to implement a mutual recognition arrangement on conformity assessment of telecommunications equipment (MRA-CA) and to draft a mutual recognition arrangement for equivalence of technical requirements in telecommunications equipment (MRA-ETR).

The steering groups and task force propose and implement projects that address priorities set by both Telecommunications and Information Ministers and Leaders. In 2015, the 10th Ministerial Meeting on Telecommunications and Information (TELMIN10) endorsed the Strategic Plan for 2016-2020, with the following priority areas to:

  • Develop and support information and communications technologies ICT innovation;
  • Promote a secure, resilient and trusted ICT environment;
  • Promote regional economic integration;
  • Enhance the Digital Economy and the Internet Economy; and
  • Strengthen cooperation .

Current Activities

The 52nd Meeting of the Telecommunications and Information Working Group (TEL) was held in Auckland, New Zealand, from 19-23 October 2015.

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.  Five (5) workshops ranging from cybersecurity, ICT Innovation, Connectivity and Convergence were conducted.  TEL also conducted a teleconference meeting with Chair of the Ad Hoc Steering Group on the Internet Economy (AHSGIE)

The third revision of the “Guidelines for Market Surveillance”; “A Guide for Conformity Assessment Bodies to the APEC TEL Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA)”; and “A Guide for Industry to APEC TEL Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA)” was completed and endorsed.  These revisions take into account of developments and provide clarity on implementation on the MRAs since the last revision in 2007. 

TEL will next meet in 2016 in Peru.

ICT DEVELOPMENT STEERING GROUP (DSG)

By 2016, there will be 3 billion Internet users globally – almost half of the world’s population.  The Internet economy will reach $4.2 trillion in the G-20 economies.  The Internet is contributing to up to 8 percent of GDP in some economies, powering growth, and creating jobs, according to a BCG report in 2012.  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.

Internet of Things Development for the Promotion of Information Society (China)

Recognizing the potential of the Internet of Things and the online interconnection of everyday objects, public, nonprofit and private representatives provided recommendations on how APEC member governments can nurture this innovative technology to realize both economic and social benefits. With the rapid development of information and communications technology, the digital and physical world are increasingly converging to create an internet of everything—from smart green buildings to e-health. The seamless interconnection of devices to the internet, such as sensors or cameras embedded on measurement devices, can provide sophisticated data processing and communication from ocean tsunami warning systems to e-doctors servicing remote communities.  According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), the Internet of Things and its surrounding technology ecosystem are expected to be an USD 8.9 trillion market globally by 2020—creating unlimited opportunities for economic growth and social progress.  The workshop conducted on 14 May 2015 provided a platform for all APEC members to discuss and explore ways to address the three main challenges in the development of IOT, viz. (i) the gap of IOT infrastructure development between developed economies and developing economies; (ii) the relative immature nature of the industrialization and business models in the APEC region; and (iii) the lack of regional cooperation and collaboration on issues related to IOT, restricting the spread of technologies, services and products. 

Getting Connected: TV White Space (Singapore)

This self-funded workshop (organised by Singapore and co-sponsored by Hong Kong, China, Chinese Taipei and the United States) provided a better understanding on how TV White Space (TVWS) can be an ICT enabler for improving broadband penetration and socio-economic development through the sharing of experiences by APEC economies. The workshop covered three broad areas: the development of regulatory framework; technology and product readiness; and pilot trials and deployment experiences.  These speakers explained the technical implications and specifications of TV white space, and shared their regulatory and policymaking experience with this technology.  Using TV white space can be a broadband enabler and help stimulate economic and social development in APEC economies.

Other Projects include:

  • Indicators of Information Society Development in the APEC Region (Russia)

  • Cooperation Program on Creating a Common Interoperable Approach to Improving the Efficiency of Existing Disaster Management Systems based on ICT (Russia)

  • Deployment of Multi-Language Email Address Technology (China)

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:

Over The Top (OTT) Service (Indonesia)

The workshop on OTT Service provided an opportunity for stakeholders and economies to share experiences on the implementation of OTT, including best practices for deployment of OTT.  Discussions focused on the challenges faced by Telco Operators in view of the emergence of OTT applications and players in the market. The speakers were of the view that the emergence of OT meant that governments would need to strike a good balance between promoting facilitating digital economy and on the need to regulate to ensure equal treatment between traditional Telco Operators and OTT players. 

Regulatory Roundtable (hosted by the Philippines)

The Regulatory Roundtable at TEL52 was organised by the Philippines, with discussions on the theme of “Open Data”.  The presentations covered a range of issues on how the benefits of open data policy should be maximized without sacrificing the citizens’ privacy.  The Philippines’ presentation was on Open Data Philippines Action Plan 2014-2016 which includes the principles of transparency, accountability and citizen engagement, and the e-Gov Awards in the Philippines.  The US shared about the benefits of Open Data in the US, including applications for aid, transparency, flood tracking, modern foraging, public transportation, dataGov and openGov hubs.  FMA’s presentation was on open data, big data and the privacy dilemma.

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:

Development of a Safe and Secure ITC Use Environment (Japan)

The workshop provided an opportunity for economies to share their respective efforts to three main issues, viz. (i) countermeasures for spam; (ii) development of safe and secure Internet Environment for Youth; and (iii) Appropriate handling of user information related to ICT Services. Presentations were made by economies and industry players, including Yahoo!, Softbank Mobile Corporation, AT&T, Korea, Australia, Chinese Taipei, Japan, Malaysia and Hong Kong China. 

Cybersecurity Framework (Thailand)

The objective of the workshop was to share those basic concepts and seek member economies' input and suggestions to build a solid fundamental cybersecurity framework.  Thailand introduced three areas of interest, including: (1) NIST Cybersecurity Framework 1.0, (2) Multi-stakeholder model, and (3) other concepts and technologies.

Achievements

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).

Contacts

Andrey MUKHANOV (Mr)

Advisor to the Minister of Telecom and Mass Communications of the Russian Federation
Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications of the Russian Federation
Address: 7, Tverskaya str., Moscow, Russia, 125375
Email: andrey.y.mukhanov@gmail.com,a.mukhanov@minsvyaz.ru
Karina KUDAKAEVA (Ms)

Assistant to the APEC TEL Chair
International Law Specialist
Research and Development Institute of Radio (NIIR)
16, Kazakova street, Moscow,105064 Russia
Email: karina.kudakaeva@gmail.com
Karen Yeo (Ms)
Program Director
APEC Secretariat
Email: ky15@apec.org

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