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.
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 (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:
- ICT Development and Policy Steering Group (DPSG)
- ICT Security and Trust Steering Group (STSG)
- ICT Conformity Assessment and Interoperability Steering Group (CISG)
The steering groups propose and implement projects that address priorities set by both TEL ministers and APEC Leaders.
Last page update: June 2023
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, TEL adopted the APEC TEL Initiative on Global Challenges and Cooperation Utilizing ICT – COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond in October 2020. 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
The next TEL meeting will take place in August 2023 on the Third APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM 3) in Seattle, Washington, USA. The projects that are currently in progress for each steering group are as follows.
ICT Development and Policy Steering Group (DPSG)
The ICT Development and Policy Steering Group (DPSG) focuses on expanding digital access and usage and exploring new ICT applications and services in the APEC region. DPSG is currently working on the following activities:
ICT Skills Framework Implementation (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 participating in this project as a useful reference framework to build skills across the region. Building on the outcomes of the previous APEC ICT Skills Framework project, which concluded in 2021, this initiative aims to develop an implementation guide which would support an economy to implement the framework in their own context. The project includes one or more workshops to support the development and use of the guide.
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. Nine 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 2020 to 2030 for pandemic and ageing population.
Smart Silver Innovation Project 2019–2023 (Japan)
The project seeks to identify solutions to the challenges from an ageing society using 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 or IoT, 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, and 5G network.
Smart Cloud for Government and Business
This project seeks to build awareness and knowledge for APEC member economies on the benefits of cloud computing for both businesses and government, taking into consideration the economic, security, environmental, and human capital needs to leverage cloud technologies in support of their digital transformation goals. Through a series of workshops and research activities, the project aims to better prepare and strengthen member economies’ awareness, understanding, and adaptation to cloud computing technologies and develop recommendations and best practices economies can use to create the foundations for their own cloud adoption and cloud policies.
Security and Trust Steering Group (STSG)
The Security and Trust Steering Group (STSG) focuses on promoting security and trust in networks and cybercrime prevention.
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.”
ICT Conformity Assessment and Interoperability Steering Group (CISG)
The ICT Conformity Assessment and Interoperability Steering Group (CISG) 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.