Telecommunications and Information

The APEC Telecommunications and Information Working Group (TEL) aims to advance the development of information and communications technology (ICT) 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 welcomed 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). In 2015, the “Mutual Recognition Arrangement Task Force” was renamed the “Conformity Assessment and MRA Task Force.”

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:

  • 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: August 2018

Current Activities

The 57th Meeting of the Telecommunications and Information Working Group (TEL) was held in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, 3–8 June 2018.

The TEL continued work according to the TEL Strategic Action Plan 2016–2020, which has been endorsed at the ministers’ level. The TEL initiated the discussion on the action plan’s mid-term review to examine the progress made since 2016.  In addition, the TEL identified areas of potential cross-fora collaboration with the relevant APEC fora on issues such as cybersecurity, disaster risk reduction, ICT for people with disability, enhancing digital literacy and internet/digital economy strategies.  In line with its multi-stakeholder approach, industry and regulatory roundtables on universal broadband access, “over-the-top services” (OTT) regulations, as well as facilities sharing and open access regimes were conducted at the margins of the TEL57 meetings.  Member economies also conducted four workshops:

  1. Seminar on Digital Government
  2. Internet Infrastructure Security
  3. Cybersecurity Framework
  4. IoT (Internet of Things) Security. 

The TEL will next meet in October 2018 in Chinese Taipei.


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 Broadband Access (Papua New Guinea)

This roundtable organized by Papua New Guinea was held on 4 June 2018 and attended by about 40 participants. Eight presentations were shared:

  1. Achieving Universal Broadband Access in Papua New Guinea
  2. Modernised Broadband Access and Its Socioeconomic Impacts, Japan
  3. Russian Federation : Approaches in Providing Universal Broadband Access
  4. Universalizing Broadband in Viet Nam
  5. The FCC Perspective, the United States
  6. Universal Service guarantee (USG), Australia
  7. Bringing the internet to remote communities, ISOC
  8. Investments in Infrastructure to Support Universal Broadband, DataCo PNG

Seminar on Digital Government: Planning and Implementing e-Government Projects in APEC (Papua New Guinea)

This self-funded workshop organized by Papua New Guinea was held on 6 June 2018 and attended by about 30 participants. There were five presenters who shared the following topics:

  1. Integrated Government Information System for Papua New Guinea;
  2. Smart Nation & Digital Government – A Digitalisation Journey, Singapore
  3. Thailand Digital Government Plan 2017-2021;
  4. e-Government in Viet Nam: Case Studies and Future Plan;
  5. Government Digital Transformation: Philippines.

There was considerable interest in the presentations and questions were asked or comments made by representatives of Papua New Guinea, Japan, Viet Nam, the Philippines, and others.

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 includes 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 includes the world’s first trial of long-distance 8K video streaming transfer on a long-distance IP network during the 2014 Sapporo Snow Festival. 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. 


Due to fast-paced disruptive technologies, different sectors are now getting more and more intertwined, making it very difficult for regulators to keep up. A telecom industry report[2] shows that one-third of global telecom leaders are concerned about uncertain regulatory environments.

The LSG 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 Roundtable and Survey on the Regulation of OTT Services within APEC (Papua New Guinea)

This regulatory roundtable was held on 4 June 2018 and attended by 12 economies, aiming to promote information sharing on the importance of OTT services and its implications as well as how this emerging trend is reflected in policy frameworks and regulatory settings. Papua New Guinea developed a proposed survey to better understand the regulations on OTT services within APEC and will circulate it to member economies for comments. Papua New Guinea also highlighted its steady growth in data consumption since 2011 when mobile service was launched. They highlighted as well the benefits and challenges of OTT applications to local consumers. In addition, Australia provided an overview of its economy's experience and approach to OTT.

Industry Roundtable on Facilities Sharing and Open Access Regimes within APEC (Papua New Guinea)

This industry roundtable was held on 5 June 2018 and was attended by 10 delegates who sought to share their member economies’ experiences, as well as industry representatives who talked about the challenges faced in facilities sharing and open access regimes. Papua New Guinea shared its experience in achieving a degree of open access and in facilities sharing in its ICT sector, as well as several initiatives that were currently being undertaken. The Pacific ICT Regulatory Resource Centre (PiRRC), a regional body which encourages information and industry data sharing across the Pacific Islands for the purpose of ICT policymaking, shared a case study on a common facilities sharing regime for small Pacific Island economies. Russia also shared principles and the associated impact of spectrum and infrastructure sharing (SIS) with references to its work with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

Conformity Assessment & Mutual Recognition Arrangement Task Force (CA&MRA TF)

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 20 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.


In 2018, “cyber-attacks” and “massive data fraud” are listed in the top five global risks in terms of likelihood. [3] It is almost inevitable that cyber risks will continue to intensify as the world becomes more digitally interconnected.

The SPSG 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 helps APEC economies improve their understanding and awareness of work going on across the region and in relevant international bodies. The framework promotes discussions of best practices for addressing key issues on the topic and begins to identify common themes and frameworks in regional and global approaches to a secure, safe and trustful online environment. A Cybersecurity Framework Workshop was held at the 55th Meeting of the TEL (TEL55) to review and discuss the proposed framework outline presented by Thailand. Another workshop took place at TEL56 to identify areas where further consideration is needed and noted the proposed timeline for the Framework. At TEL57, the Framework was agreed to be renamed as the “APEC Framework for Securing the Digital Economy” with its current structure including a foreword and preamble, and sections on Scope and Application, Principles, and Strategies.

Internet Infrastructure Security Workshop (Papua New Guinea)

This workshop was organized by Papua New Guinea on 4 June 2018, attended by 50 participants from 10 economies. The workshop addressed the security and resiliency of internet infrastructure, particularly the DNS and routing which are the core of the internet, considering security initiatives, strategies, polices and capacity development opportunities. APEC members and guests presented their experiences and carried out awareness of security issues affecting internet infrastructure and the best practices that are available. The resounding message from the workshop pointed towards a greater need to tighten our internet infrastructure security which is critical to building trust and confidence in a digital economy. The discussions were based on a good mixture of technical and non-technical measures.

IoT Security Workshop (China)

The IoT (“Internet of Things”) Security Workshop was hosted by China on 6 June 2018, attended by nearly 50 participants from 11 economies and two invited guests. The topics cover various aspects of IoT security, including the status of IoT devices, governmental guidelines, technical solutions, industry countermeasures and so on. The speakers came from different economies and different sectors, such as government agencies, non-profit organizations and enterprises. The aim of the workshop was for participants to share, discuss and learn from the varied speakers and each other. Participants were inspired by the experts’ perspectives and experiences which could be well adapted and incorporated to suit their own conditions to achieve common progress and ensure a secure environment.

[1] ICT Facts and Figures 2017, ITU,

[2] Digital transformation for 2020 and beyond, Ernst & Young,$FILE/ey-digital-transformation-for-2020-and-beyond.pdf

[3] The Global Risks Report 2018, World Economic Forum,

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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.

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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