Telecommunications and Information

The APEC Telecommunications and Information Working Group (abbreviated as TEL) was established in 1990 and meets biannually.

The 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. The 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, the 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.

In the 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. The TEL had contributed to drafting the roadmap and will play an important role in its implementation.

The TEL also supported APEC’s efforts in pursuit of the Bogor Goals of free and open trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region by 2020, in the field of ICT and digital economy.

The 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)

The LSG also includes a Conformity Assessment and Mutual Recognition Task Force (CA & MRA TF) 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.

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
Last page update: Febreary 2021

Current Activities

The 61st Meeting of the Telecommunications and Information Working Group (TEL61) was held virtually from 2 to 15 October 2020.

The projects that are currently in progress for each steering group are as follows.


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 61, 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.

Recommendations for Implementation of Smart Sustainable City (SSC) ICT Infrastructure in the APEC Region (Viet Nam)*

The project has three objectives:

  • Identify prerequisite conditions to deploy smart sustainable city (SSC) ICT infrastructure in a certain city/urban geographical area in the APEC region
  • Create a framework for analyzing key elements needed to support the development of SSC ICT infrastructure in the APEC region
  • Develop recommendations to help economies recognize importance of deploying SSC ICT infrastructure

Viet Nam reported on the completion of the project. The project contains five recommendations:

  1. Clearly understand the current status of ICT infrastructure
  2. Start in small areas before expanding to larger scales and scope
  3. Shar infrastructure to save time/money
  4. Use IoT, 5G, AI, Blockchain
  5. Focus international coordination on developing SSC to respond to climate change.

(* This project was implemented jointly by the DSG and LSG.)

APEC e-Government Research Center 2020 (Japan) – Extension

The APEC e-Government Research Center 2020 is a multi-year project. The main activities of the center are 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 center also offers recommendations for the improvement of e-government implementation. As part of the center’s commitment to addressing e-government issues, the center is working on e-APEC. At TEL61, Japan reported that the center had formed the executive board for the extension of the project. Nine leading APEC-region institutions on e-government cooperate as the network of the center and have been working together as project overseers and partners to implement the joint meeting.

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). At TEL61, Japan reported that the project’s first phase would run from 1 June 2019 to 30 June 2023. The goal is to establish a society which will implement "Smart Silver Innovation” including ICT applications, emerging technologies and capacity building.

APII Testbed Project 2020 (Korea)

The APII testbed networks are widely available to industry, academia and government to promote the timely development of new applications and strategic international joint research and cooperation through connecting testbeds in the Asia-Pacific.

Facilitating Innovation and Diversity in Next Generation (5G) Network Ecosystems (Korea)

The main task of the project is to identify the role of stakeholders in 5G networks and encourage collaboration among them. Practical implication will be expressed by survey questionnaire and a workshop in November 2020.


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. At TEL61, the steering group worked on the following activities:

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.

Recommendations for Implementation of Smart Sustainable City (SSC) ICT Infrastructure in the APEC Region (Viet Nam) *

(* See section above, under DSG.)


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:

Public-Private Dialogue on Status, Trends, Opportunities and Threats of Social Network (Thailand)

Thailand briefed the meeting on its revised report which was part of the proposal of the self-funded project. The project was carried out in partnership with the Faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University in Thailand, and two workshops were organized to provide a foundation for the paper. The paper incorporated views and experiences shared in the workshops and results of further studies conducted by the University’s faculty of Communication Arts and was compiled into three main sections:

  1. Regional and global status and trends of social networks
  2. Case studies and international current practices on social network governance in APEC
  3. Challenges and recommendations. 

Cyber Security Awareness Activity (United States)

The United States briefed on National Cyber Security Awareness Month. October is US National Cyber Security Awareness Month, which is commemorating its 17th year. 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.”

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Telecommunications and Information

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.



Contact Us

Dr NAM Sang-yirl

TEL Chair
Korea Information Society Development Institute (KISDI)
18 Jeongtong-ro, Deoksan-myeon
JINCHEON-GUN, Chungcheongbuk-do 27872
Korea (Rep. of)
[email protected]

Ms Jungeun Park

Assistant to the Chair
Korea Information Society Development Institute (KISDI)
18 Jeongtong-ro, Deoksan-myeon
JINCHEON-GUN, Chungcheongbuk-do 27872
Korea (Rep. of)
[email protected]


Program Director
[email protected]