The APEC Telecommunications and Information Working Group (TEL or TELWG) was established in 1990 and meets biannually.
TEL aims to advance the development of information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure and services as well as to promote cooperation, information sharing and the development of effective ICT policies and regulations in the Asia-Pacific region. TEL also aims to enhance social and economic development through effective use of ICT, and promote a secure and trusted ICT environment. Ultimately, the group hopes to build an Asia-Pacific Information Society (APIS).
In practice, TEL aims to ensure that all people in the Asia-Pacific region have affordable access to ICT and the internet, for which broadband connectivity has become an essential component. In the first APEC Telecommunications and Information Ministerial Meeting (TELMIN1) in 1995, ministers released the Seoul Declaration for the Asia Pacific Information Infrastructure (APII), through which they agreed to making the telecommunications and information sector a model sector in achieving the Bogor Goals by intensifying Asia-Pacific development cooperation and improving the region’s information infrastructure.
In 2000, APEC Leaders set the Brunei Goal of universal internet access by 2010 and aimed to triple internet access within the Asia-Pacific region by 2005.
In the TEL Bangkok Declaration of 2008, telecommunications and information ministers noted with satisfaction that the Leaders' Brunei Goal of tripling internet access had been achieved and affirmed the commitment to achieving universal access to broadband by 2015.
Inthe 2010 Okinawa Declaration, TEL ministers set the ambitious goal of access to next-generation high-speed broadband by 2020 to nurture the growth of knowledge-based economies in the APEC region.
In 2017, leaders noted the importance of promoting the internet economy and welcomed the adoption of the APEC Internet and Digital Economy Roadmap (AIDER). TEL contributed to drafting the AIDER and plays an important role in its implementation.
TEL also supports APEC’s efforts in pursuit of the Putrajaya Vision 2040, in the field of Innovation and Digitalisation.
TEL conducts its work program through the following steering groups:
- Liberalization Steering Group (LSG)
- ICT Development Steering Group (DSG)
- Security and Prosperity Steering Group (SPSG)
LSG also includes a Conformity Assessment and Mutual Recognition Task Force (CA & MRA TF) which aims 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 (MRA-ETR) in telecommunications equipment.
The steering groups and task force propose and implement projects that address priorities set by both TEL ministers and APEC Leaders.
Last page update: September 2021
In 2020, TEL endorsed the TEL Strategic Action Plan (SAP) for 2021–2025, with the following priority areas:
- Telecommunication / ICT Infrastructure and Connectivity
- Trusted, Secure and Resilient ICT
- ICT Policies and Regulations to Enable Innovation, Economic Integration and Inclusiveness
- Collaboration in Telecommunications / ICT and Applications
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in October 2020 TEL adopted the APEC TEL Initiative on Global Challenges and Cooperation Utilizing ICT – COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond. The Initiative outlines possible areas for APEC member economies to propose initiatives and projects in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent global challenges through cooperation and utilization of ICT and emerging digital technology:
- Share information and best practices
- Strengthen cooperation and outreach in the Asia‐Pacific region
- Enhance utilization of ICTs in addressing global challenges
- Learn from COVID‐19 and plan for the future
The 63rd TEL Meeting (TEL 63) was held virtually from 10 to 19 August 2021.
The projects that are currently in progress for each steering group are as follows.
ICT DEVELOPMENT STEERING GROUP (DSG)
The ICT Development Steering Group (DSG) focuses on expanding digital access and usage and exploring new ICT applications and services in the APEC region. At TEL 63, the Steering Group worked on the following activities:
ICT Skills Framework Project (Papua New Guinea)
This project aims to solve the shortage of skills in the ICT sector, starting by defining ICT skills. The Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) has been either adopted or considered by five out of the six economies as a useful reference framework to build skills across the region. The project overseers are planning to host a virtual workshop in November and complete the final report soon thereafter.
APEC D-Government Research Center (Japan)
The APEC D-Government Research Center is a multi-year project focused on monitoring and assessing the e-APEC initiative, maintaining a data bank for digital government readiness for member economies, conducting trainings with through an online system, and recommendations for the improvement of digital government implementation. 9 leading APEC region’s institutions on D-Government cooperate as the network of the Center. They are focused on creating the next generation of Digital Government with 5G Broadband Scheme, AI and Blockchain for Digital Government through SDGs, with a special focus on digital transformation solutions from Year 2020 to 2030 for Pandemic and Ageing. The project team is developing an APEC digital government ranking that it will publish at the end of the project in 2023.
Smart Silver Innovation Project 2019–2023 (Japan)
The project seeks to identify solutions to the challenges from an ageing society through the use of ICT (i.e., “smart silver innovation”) and knowledge sharing. More specifically, it considers the range of applications of emerging technologies (like the internet of things, big data, AI and 5G). The goal is to establish a society which will implement "Smart Silver Innovation” including ICT applications, emerging technologies and capacity building. Through test beds in the relevant fields and the transfer of the solutions to other economies which are suffering from the ageing issues, this project will be using the emerging technologies such as IoT, Big data, AI, block chain, 5G network.
Regulatory challenges to promote the development of the Digital Economy: a consumer empowerment perspective (Peru)
The aim of this project is to share views and experiences to help design policies, actions, and measures to empower consumers through the use of digital tools and reduce digital literacy gaps. A virtual workshop in May 2021 brought together different stakeholder perspectives to discuss consumer trends in the digital economy and consumer-focused policies, practices, and experiences with digital tools.
Building a Digital Ready Society (Singapore and Thailand)
The virtual workshop in August 2021 focused on digital inclusion for all, especially vulnerable groups and SMEs that are not “born digital”. Discussed topics included digital access, literacy, and participation.
Workshop on Open Data for Digital Economy Growth (Thailand)
This project aims to promote secure use of open data in the APEC region, share open data best practices and lessons learned among APEC member economies, and establish the open data community of experts in the APEC region. A virtual workshop took place in September 2021, and the project overseers hope to complete the final report by the end of the year.
LIBERALIZATION STEERING GROUP (LSG)
The Liberalization Steering Group (LSG) focuses on regional economic integration in ICT, and on effective policy and regulatory frameworks for industrial innovation and public interest.
Conformity Assessment & Mutual Recognition Arrangement Task Force (CA&MRA TF)
The task force discusses, learns about, and shares best practices on processes used to determine that products meet the necessary technical and regulatory requirements before and after being placed on the market. This includes topics such as accreditation and market surveillance. The task force also shares best practices and solutions to various challenges faced by regulators that are managing the conformity assessment procedures for telecommunication equipment for their economies.
SECURITY AND PROSPERITY STEERING GROUP (SPSG)
The Security and Prosperity Steering Group (SPSG) focuses on promoting security and trust in networks and cybercrime prevention. They are working on the following activities:
Cyber Security Awareness Activity (United States)
The Cyber Security Awareness Month is organized by the United States every year in October. This is a collaborative effort between government and industry to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity and ensure that all Americans have the resources they need to be safer and more secure online. In this context, the United States is promoting the theme, “Do Your Part #BeCyberSmart” with the key message, “if you connect it, protect it.”
APEC K12 Cyber Security Education Workshop (Indonesia)
This project intends to build the capacity of participants to support a better environment for K-12 cyber security education. The project overseers are currently conducting research, including literature study and focus group discussions, and will proceed to organize a virtual workshop.