Asia-Pacific Information Superhighway recognized as major Regional Initiative
The Asia-Pacific Information Superhighway (AP-IS) initiative, aimed at improving regional broadband connectivity through a dense web of open access cross border infrastructure, was recognized as a major regional initiative at the Regional Preparatory Meeting for Asia and the Pacific (RPM-ASP).
RPM-ASP was organized by the Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT) of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), in collaboration with the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT), in Bali, Republic of Indonesia, from 21-23 March 2017, at the kind invitation of the Government of the Republic of Indonesia.
The objective of RPM-ASP was to identify priorities at the regional level, for the development of telecommunications and ICT. The meeting was attended by 225 participants representing 27 Member States, 13 Sector Members and 2 Academia Members from the region, 5 Observer Member States and 6 Observer Sector Members, and 5 United Nations and its specialized agencies. UNESCAP informed RPM-ASP on the developments related to the Asia-Pacific Information Superhighway.
At RPM-ASP it was noted that that the current interconnectivity based on terrestrial and maritime cable networks is not adequate in countries in the Asia-Pacific region, which creates difficulties in accessing international internet and hinders efforts of countries to develop the ICT sector as well as society and the economy.
To address the inadequate interconnectivity, the AP-IS initiative aims to create a seamless regional network of fibre optic cables to provide both intra-regional and intercontinental connectivity, in order to drive international bandwidth prices down and improve affordability; increase resilience by offering redundancy; decrease latency across the region; and enhance digital inclusion.
Noting the work initiated by UNESCAP in relation to the AP-IS, the meeting called upon ITU and Member States to actively participate in the AP-IS initiative. Areas of cooperation between ITU and ESCAP include the update of Asia-Pacific Information Superhighway transmission maps, financial inclusion for empowerment of women entrepreneurs, terrestrial fibre links to international connectivity, institutional and individual capacity-building, formulation of an AP-IS funding platform, and regional review of the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) in Asia and the Pacific.