As a growing number of people in ASEAN realize the benefit of internet connectivity through smartphone technology, expanding broadband access to greater number of rural people becomes increasingly important to the region. In support of this trend, the U.S. government on September 7 and 8 sponsored a two-day conference on rural wireless broadband internet for ASEAN leaders. The conference provided an opportunity to generate enthusiasm for continuing progress, and facilitate further trials and deployments of rural wireless broadband solutions in ASEAN. Presenters shared best practices from various countries and discussed regulatory regimes and practical solutions to scale rural wireless broadband.
Underscoring the importance of the conference and the commitment of the U.S. government to work closely with ASEAN to encourage the development of broadband Internet access, Deputy Chief of Mission to the U.S. Embassy to Lao PDR Michael Kleine stated during his opening remarks that “the results of today’s conference and a workshop being held next week in Vietnam on e-commerce will… form the basis for the ASEAN-U.S. work plan on telecommunications for 2016 and beyond.” Mr. Kleine stressed that expanding rural internet access can be a driver of economic growth through the creation of jobs, productivity improvements and increased economic output.
This conference was an initiative of the U.S.-sponsored ASEAN Connectivity through Trade and Investment project (US-ACTI).