By Noor Farhana Ahmad Norain
ASEAN telecommunications ministers have recommended the creation of national broadband plan in all ASEAN member states, saying that it is vital in providing a foundation for socio-economic development.
In a joint ministerial statement, the ministers said through the innovative services that emerge from such networks, every citizen and all sectors could be engaged and be part of the information society.
The statement was issued at the end of the 11th ASEAN Telecommunications and Information Technology Ministers Meeting (Telmin) Friday.
Malaysia was represented by Information Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim.
According to the statement, the ministers also regarded the importance of information security in the broadband network, and agreed to strengthen ASEAN cooperation on the matter.
On reducing international mobile roaming charges, they also welcomed the adoption of the Addendum on ASEAN Telecommunication Regulators Council (ATRC) Intra-ASEAN Mobile Roaming Rates (MMR) to the Record of Intent by the 17th ATRC.
“We encourage all parties, especially the policy making and regulatory bodies, to consider this initiative seriously and to implement the Addendum as soon as they are ready,” they said.
The 11th Telmin that was held at the Myanmar International Convention Center here, was preceded by a three-day 12th ASEAN Telecommunications and Information Technology Senior Officials Meeting.
The ministers also announced the launch of ASEAN ICT Awards program as a step to promote and reward innovation, as well as to recognize achievement in ICT innovation excellence.
The first award will be conferred at the 12th Telmin in Manila next year, which is divided in five categories — private sector, public sector, start-up company, corporate social responsibility and digital content.
Moving forward, the ministers would continue to focus on the six areas underlined in the ASEAN ICT Masterplan (AIM) 2015, namely economic transformation, people empowerment and engagement, innovation, infrastructure development, human capital development, and bridging the digital divide.
The ministers also stressed that they would be working very closely with the dialogue partners to ensure that all corners of ASEAN will have adequate communication access.
ASEAN Telmin dialogue partners include Japan, China, Korea, India, European Union and the International Telecommunication Union.
At the meeting, Japan contributed US$ 150,000 to the ASEAN-Japan ICT Cooperation Fund and proposed to expand current cooperation to include ICT disaster countermeasure system.