Telecommunications and Information Working Group

The APEC Telecommunications and Information Working Group (TEL) aims to advance the development of information and communications technology (ICTs) infrastructure and services, and 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 of achieving open and free trade and investment in the APEC region by 2020, including in the fields of ICTs.

Additionally, in 2017, Leaders noted the importance of promoting the Internet Economy, and welcome the adoption of the APEC Internet and Digital Economy Roadmap, which the TEL will contribute in implementing.

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

  • Liberalisation Steering Group (LSG)
  • ICT Development Steering Group (DSG)
  • Security and Prosperity Steering Group (SPSG)

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 APEC Leaders.  In 2015, the 10th Ministerial Meeting on Telecommunications and Information (TELMIN10) endorsed the TEL Strategic Action 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.

Last page update: April 2018

Current Activities

The 56th Meeting of the Telecommunications and Information Working Group (TEL56) was held in Bangkok, Thailand, on10–15 December 2017.

The TEL continued its work on developing a planning and prioritization work plan to take forward the work of the TEL Strategic Action Plan 20162020 endorsed by 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 micro-, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).  In line with its multi-stakeholder approach, industry and regulatory roundtables on universal service obligation (USO) policy implementation, digital startups and MSMEs, as well as on innovation on big data, the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) were conducted at the margins of TEL56 meetings. 

Member economies conducted five workshops on

  1. Collection, Validation and Publication of ICTs Statistics Information;
  2. Enhancing Online Connectivity;
  3. Cybersecurity Framework;
  4. Cyber Drill/Exercise; and
  5. Cybersecurity Incident Management. 

The Chair of Ad Hoc Steering Group on the Internet Economy (AHSGIE), who participated in the meeting, gave a brief on the outcome of the APEC Internet and Digital Economy Roadmap and shared possible areas of potential collaboration/assistance with the TEL.

The TEL will next meet in June 2018 at Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.


In 2017, there were approximately 3.6 billion Internet users globally—about 48 per cent of the world’s population. Mobile-broadband subscriptions have grown more than 20 per cent annually in the last five years and reached 4.2 billion globally by the end of 2017.[1]  Access to ICT is a key metric in efforts to reduce poverty, empower citizens and foster economic development and is part of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

The ICT Development Steering Group (DSG) is focused on expanding broadband networks and the deployment of advanced Internet technologies in the APEC region.  In 2017, the ICT DSG was working on the following initiatives:

Innovation Roundtable on Internet of Things, Big Data, and Artificial Intelligence (hosted by Thailand)

The roundtable shared views on the importance of IoT, big data, and AI. Participants discussed the application of these cutting-edge technologies from the practical standpoint of industries and governments, as well as collaboration between public and private players in the global arena such as trade, flow of data, transfer of technology, entrepreneurship, manpower and standards. Two key suggestions that came of the roundtable were to develop standards for IoT, Big Data and AI, and to formulate guidelines on smart cities.

Best Practices on Data Collection and Validation, and Statistical Information (Mexico)

Mexico gave a presentation on their regulations in the field of collection of statistical information, and recommended Internet portals that allow anyone to acquire statistical information organized into graphs. Singapore and New Zealand presented on their experience in the field of statistics on telecommunication. Russia presented information on the general creation of set of indicators for national programs in the field of ICT development.

ICT Applications for People with Special Needs (Ageing and Disabilities) – Extension

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 be completed in 2020. 

APII R&D Test Bed Network Project (Japan, Korea) - Extension

The realization of future Internet technologies, such as new generation networks (NWGN) will provide fundamental solutions to various network problems, such as network security and energy consumption. The National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) in Japan has conducted R&D activities and operates largescale test bed networks to establish NWGN technology through proof and evaluation. The test bed networks are widely available to industry, academia and government as a technology assessment environment, 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 Additional 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 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 2020. 


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 and Industry Roundtable on Universal Service Obligation (USO) Policy Implementation and Achievements (hosted by Thailand)

The regulatory roundtable covered a broad range of topics, including:

  • National Broadcasting and Telecommunications (NBTC) policy and regulatory overview
  • Thailand’s USO NET program
  • FCC’s work on promoting connectivity and broadband
  • MCMC’s Universal Service Provision (USP) regulations
  • IFT’s digital inclusion policies
  • ISOC’s sharing on Universal Service Funds (USF) utilization

Industry Roundtable on Digital Startups and MSMEs (hosted by Thailand)

The industry roundtable was attended by experts from industry and the government sector and discussed issues covering digital disruption, digital transformation, sustainable ecosystems and collaboration between government and the private sector.

Enhancing Online Connectivity for Unleashing the Potential of Digital Economy (Japan)

Two workshops were conducted in contribution to this topic in 2017. The first workshop took place in Mexico City at TEL55, covering six presentations and a panel discussion. The following presentations were delivered:

  1. Current networking issues by AT&T
  2. Digital Transformation in Mexico by Medisist
  3. Best Practices to Encourage Introduction of New Digital Products and Services by UL company
  4. Regulatory Flexibility as a Tool to Unleash the Potential the Digital Economy by Verizon
  5. Steps toward Internet Governance by NCC Chinese Taipei
  6. Linguistic Technologies for Enhanced Online Connectivity in Digital Economy, Association of Electronic Trading Platforms by Russian Federation.

Three issues were discussed in the panel discussion:

  1. The key stakeholders in enhancing digital transformation on ICT infrastructure;
  2. How digital industry players maximize the value of ICT infrastructure and data
  3. The role of APEC TEL in enhancing digital transformation on ICT infrastructure.

The second workshop took place in Bangkok at TEL56 and included two discussion sessions:

  1. Case Studies and Role of Connectivity Infrastructure in Socio-Economic Issues
  2. Sharing of Experiences in Connectivity Infrastructure.

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 19 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 group is focused on promoting security and trust in e-commerce and networks and cybercrime prevention. They are working on the following initiatives:

Cyber Security Framework (Thailand)

The project aims at the development of the APEC Cybersecurity Framework, which aims at helping APEC economies

  • Improve their understanding and awareness of work going on across the region and in relevant international bodies;
  • Promote discussions of best practices for addressing key issues on the topic; and
  • Begin to identify common themes and frameworks in regional and global approaches to secure, safe and trustful online environment.

A Cybersecurity Framework workshop was held at TEL55 to review and discuss the proposed framework outline presented by Thailand. Another workshop took place at TEL56 with two presentations delivered:

  1. OECD recommendations on digital security risk management by the U.S. Department of State
  2. Case studies of risk-based approaches to cybersecurity by Underwriters’ Laboratories (UL). The meeting identified areas where further consideration is needed and noted the proposed timeline for the Framework

Cyber Exercise Workshop (Japan)

The workshop was attended by 11 economies and two guest organizations (APNIC, ISOC) and five presentations were made. Participants actively interacted with each presentation and were able to share experiences, best practices and lessons learned from good examples of cyber drills and exercises around the globe. This workshop was aimed to share information and views on this topic as a first step. The next step will be to experience exercise such as Table Top Exercise (TTX) to further understand the importance and significance of this concept.

Cybersecurity Incident Management Awareness Workshop (Malaysia)

The workshop was attended by 36 delegates from 13 economies and other guests (APNIC, Thai CERT, ISOC and APCERT). In light of the need to improve cybersecurity incident responses and the importance of threat intelligence handling processes, two security tracks during the workshop were conducted by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and the APNIC. The workshop provided a forum to raise awareness among the regulators and policy makers, as well as discuss and share the lessons learned by Malaysia and the APNIC in monitoring and responding to attacks, including the potential solutions to addressing the root cause of attacks.

[1] ICT Facts and Figures 2017, ITU,

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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.

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Contact Us

Dr Morris LIN

TEL Chair
Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC)
14F, No. 50, Sec. 1, Ren-ai Rd., Zhongzheng District, Taipei City 10052.,


Assistant to the Chair
Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC)
14F, No. 50, Sec. 1, Ren-ai Rd., Zhongzheng District, Taipei City 10052.,

Mr Adrian CHENG

Program Director