Universal access is not enough, say Ministers at the 7th APEC Ministerial Meeting on the Telecommunications and Information Industry (TELMIN 7).
Adopted today after a series of meetings entitled, "Digital Prosperity: Turning Challenges into Achievement," the Bangkok Declaration boldly asserts the importance of cross-border telecommunications that are not only efficient but insists that they should be "seamless."
The group is recognized for its ability to achieve its targets: the Brunei Goal of Tripling Internet Access within the Asia-Pacific region, set in 2000, has already been achieved and the goal of universal Internet by 2010 is within reach.
Determined to add a social perspective to the APEC agenda, the need for reliable infrastructure and service is all the more pronounced. States the Bangkok Declaration:
"Ensuring universally accessibly ICT infrastructure and services to bridge the digital divide is crucial to our future social and economic prosperity..." and that economies should "continue their efforts to expand the reach of networks with the ambitious goal of achieving universal access to broadband by 2015."
Present at the adoption, the private sector was recognized as a key partner in providing users with "seamless cross-border telecommunications and value-added services at competitive prices".
At the same time, for recommendations in the declaration to be successfully carried out would demand continuous intra-regional discussions of regulatory and policy approaches. In this respect, telecommunication and information industry activities are critical to APEC. Dialogues between economies will be fundamental in addressing a fluid and unpredictable market environment and global issues such as climate change and natural disaster. The declaration will be submitted to APEC Economic Leaders when they meet in Lima in November 2008.
The APEC Telecommunications and Information Working Group (TEL) works continuously toward the achievement of the Bogor Goals of free and open trade and investment in the Asia Pacific region by 2010 for developed economies and 2020 for developing economies.
APEC Economic Leaders indicated their collective commitment to regional economic integration, to free and open markets, to the security of our people, and to address the challenges of climate change in Sydney Australia, 2007 ("Strengthening Our Community, Building a Sustainable Future").