By Noor Farhana Ahmad Norain
Asean countries have been urged to collaborate to attract investments in Internet infrastructure so as to expedite the setting up of the Asean Broadband Corridor and Asean Internet Exchange.
In making the call, Asean Telecommunications and Information Technology Senior Official Meeting (Telsom) outgoing chairman Datuk Seri Kamaruddin Siaraf said the investments would be for the regional grouping’s own benefit and enable it to remain competitive with other regions.
“We have all come to realize that the longer we tarry with the provision of broadband access, the more difficult it will be for us to catch up with other connected nations and regions,” he said in his opening remarks at the 12th Telsom meeting at the Myanmar International Convention Centre here today.
Ten senior officials, one each from the Asean countries — Cambodia, Brunei, Myanmar, Malaysia, Laos, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam — attended the opening ceremony.
In January, at the 10th Asean Telecommunications and Information Technology Ministers Meeting (Telmin) in Kuala Lumpur, Asean telecommunications ministers launched the Asean ICT Masterplan 2015 (AIM 2015), a strategic document to bring the Asean ICT sector to a higher level and to reinforce the role of ICT for Asean integration.
They also agreed to work together in creating Asean’s own Internet exchange and domain by 2015 that will enable the region to enjoy better Internet connectivity at an affordable cost.
An Internet exchange primarily functions as a point for networks to interconnect directly rather than through a third-party network. With an Internet exchange, the cost to the consumer would be reduced and bandwidth speed increased.
Kamaruddin, who is also the secretary-general of the Malaysian Information, Communications and Culture Ministry, said the Asean dialogue partners namely Japan, Korea, China, India, the European Union (EU) and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), would be the logical partners in the venture, as they have more experience, technology and expertise compared to the Asean countries.
Telsom meets at least once a year to share information and experiences in developing policies and management efficiency among its members.
This year’s meeting with the theme “ICT: Engine for Growth in Asean” is held at Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar’s new administrative capital.
At today’s meeting, Myanmar was elected as the 12th Telsom chairman, with the Philippines as the vice chairman.
The meeting will among others discuss the implementation progress of approved projects under AIM 2015 for 2010-2011, and other recommendations to further advance Asean ICT cooperation and integration based on the outcomes of Telsom project implementation since 2007.