Meeting of the Telecommunications and Information Working Group (TEL) was held in Kyoto Keihanna, Japan, from 30 October – 4 November 2016.
The TEL continued its work on developing a planning and prioritization work plan to take forward the work of the TEL Strategic Action Plan 2016-2020 endorsed by the Ministers. In addition, the TEL also identified areas of potential cross-fora collaboration with the relevant APEC fora on issues such as privacy and cybersecurity, disaster risk reduction, access for people with disability and facilitation for SMES. In line with its multi-stakeholder approach, industry and regulatory roundtables on Free Flow of Data and ICT Solutions for Ageing Society were conducted at the margins of the TEL54 meetings. Member Economies conducted three (3) workshops on (i) Next Generation Broadcasting; (ii) Promoting Secured Public Wi-Fi, Phase II; and (iii) Private-Public Partnerships on Cybersecurity. The TEL also conducted its regular teleconference meeting with Chair of the Ad Hoc Steering Group on the Internet Economy (AHSGIE).
The TEL will next meet in the first quarter of 2017 at Mexico City.
ICT DEVELOPMENT STEERING GROUP (DSG)
In 2016, there are approximately 3.4 billion Internet users globally – about 40% the world’s population. By end 2015, there are more than 7 billion mobile cellular subscriptions, corresponding to a penetration rate of 97%. Mobile broadband is the most dynamic market segment. Internet penetration is a key metric in efforts to reduce poverty and foster economic development and is part of the UN Millennium Development Goals.
The ICT Development Steering Group is focused on expanding broadband networks and deployment of advanced internet technologies in the APEC region. In 2016, the ICT Development Steering Group (or DSG) is working on the following initiatives:
ICT Solutions for Ageing Society
Japan hosted an industry roundtable, which provided a platform for experience sharing on the financial burden (pension and medical) to an ageing society and the development of ICT innovation to support the ageing population.
ICT Applications for People with Special Needs (Ageing and Disabilities)
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 include sharing of domestic experiences in implementation and manpower training of ICT applications for people with special needs. The project is expected to complete in May 2017.
APII R&D Test Bed Network Project (Japan, Korea) - Extension
Realization of future Internet technologies such as the New Generation Network (NWGN) will provide fundamental solutions to various network problems, such as network security and energy consumption. The National Institute of Information and Communications Technology in Japan (NICT) has conducted R&D activities and operates large‐scale test bed networks to establish New Generation Network (NWGN) technology through proof and evaluation. The test bed networks are widely available to industry, academia, and government as a technology assessment environment (test bed), 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 API test bed network include the World’s first trial of long-distance 8K video streaming transfer on a long distance IP network during the Sapporo Snow Festival 2014. 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 to 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 May 2017.
LIBERALIZATION STEERING GROUP (LSG)
The group 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 and Industry Roundtable (hosted by Japan)
Japan held the Industry and Regulatory Roundtables, traditionally held as two separate sessions, as a combined session under a single overarching theme of “Free Flow of Data”. Two sessions discussing “Business Models and the Use of Free Flow of Data” and “Policy and Regulatory Frameworks for Emerging Digital Economy and Society 5.0” were held. Discussions were also held on key issues identified by the industry representatives – data privacy/protection and cybersecurity, and their recommendations, viz. the need for a flexible, interoperable and risk-based approach to address both data privacy and cybersecurity requirements based on existing global frameworks. In addition, the meeting noted the roundtable’s recommendations, viz. the promotion of a common understanding on the requirements for free flow of data in APEC and globally accepted operational rules, and the need for TEL to promote digital communications in the structure of free flow of data, working together with other related organizations and APEC fora and subforas.
Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) Task Force
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 seventeen 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.
SECURITY AND PROSPERITY STEERING GROUP (SPSG)
The group is focused on promoting security and trust in e-commerce and networks and cybercrime prevention. They are working on the following initiatives:
Workshop on Promoting Secured Public Wi-Fi (Malaysia)
This workshop was an extension of the project from TEL53 in June 2016. It was based on the Wi-Fi security promotion by Malaysia through an experiment conducted in Kuala Lumpur in 2015. MIC Japan and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) conducted similar experiments in Osaka and Kyoto on 29 October and 30 October 2016, respectively. Findings from the workshop raised concerns about the security of the Wi-Fi communication technology that allows a device to automatically connect to a saved network, and the risks of connecting to a public Wi-Fi networks in general. Malaysia listed tips and best practices on Wi-Fi security such as VPN usage and practice Wi-Fi hygiene by turning off the “Auto-connect” function and verifying the basic network connection information.
Workshop on Public-Private Partnerships in Cybersecurity (USA)
Japan (NICT), JP-CERT, Underwriters Laboratory, and the US (DHS) presented on approaches to cooperation with the private sector regarding cybersecurity, and discussed contemporary challenges and solutions in the discussion on IoT security and Automated Indicator Sharing (AIS) respectively.
 Internet Live Stats, http://www.internetlivestats.com/internet-users/, 21 July 2016
 ICT Facts and Figures: The World in 2015, ITU, http://www.itu.int/en/ITU-D/Statistics/Documents/facts/ICTFactsFigures2015.pdf
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.
The TEL has also been promoting the use of ICT for socio-economic development and recently conducted workshops on transfer of green ICT and disaster management. In addition, the TEL has been working towards trade and investment facilitation in ICT, including the implementation of MRA.
The MRA on Conformity Assessment of Telecommunications Equipment (MRA-CA) was established in 1998. It benefits manufacturers by reducing the cost of getting a product approved and by reducing the time taken for products to reach the market. It also benefits consumers by ensuring access to a variety of competitively-priced products. This ground-breaking agreement provides an opportunity to test and certify products one time to meet the requirements of multiple markets and ship products without further conformity assessment. This helps decrease the costs of getting a new technology approved and accelerates the time for innovative products to reach the market. 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. Over the past decade and a half, this agreement has helped encourage innovation in the region and stimulated the growth of the technology sector. See more information on the APEC TEL MRA.
The MRA TF completed the text of the MRA for equivalence of technical requirements in telecommunications equipment (MRA-ETR) to complement the MRA-CA, which was endorsed at the 8th Ministerial Meeting on Telecommunications and Information in October 2010.
Promoting a safe and trusted ICT environment is another priority for the TEL and various cybersecurity initiatives have been conducted by the TEL. In 2010, the TEL created and observed Cybersecurity Awareness Day on 29th October 2010 with exhibition of posters on cybersecurity, which will continue to be observed by TEL members every year.
The TEL has been also successful in its active engagement of the private sector and other international organizations to achieve synergies and progress work in areas of mutual interest. Many TEL projects are initiated and driven solely by the private sector, and others are joint private-public sector initiatives in collaboration with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC), the Internet Society (ISOC) and the International Telecommunications Users Group (INTUG).