Report of the "Study Group for the Asia Broadband Program"

(Tentative translation)

Introduction (summary)

   This Study Group was established in order to prepare a broadband environment in Asia and develop measures to be taken so as to formulate the "Asia Broadband Program." This report contains the results of deliberations thereon.

* The "e-Japan Priority Policy Program - 2002," states that the "Asia Broadband Program" shall be formulated within FY2002.

Chapter I. Significance of broadband platforms in Asia (summary)

1. International common recognition concerning the importance of Information and Communications Technology (ICT)
  In recent years, the socioeconomic importance of ICT has been shared internationally by the G8 Leaders' "Okinawa Charter on Global Information Society (July 2000)," the United Nations "Millennium Declaration (September 2000)," etc.

In the Asia-Pacific region, also, the importance of ICT has become a common recognition as exemplified by the "Tokyo Declaration: Asia-Pacific Renaissance through ICT in the 21st century, Asia-Pacific Telecommunity -- APT Asia-Pacific Summit on the Information Society (November 2000)" and the "e-APEC Strategy (October 2001)."

In accordance with these initiatives, multifaceted and diversified action plans have been adopted and being implemented.

2. Significance of broadband platforms
  After the above-mentioned agreements, broadband platforms have been deployed, in particular, mainly in East Asian economies as new trends.
Advantages of broadband platforms features i) high speed/large capacity, and ii) constant connection/flat rates. Broadband platforms provide people with a new environment, thus enabling the dramatic overcoming of time/space restraints in communication of the human society.
Constant and flat-rate Internet access services allow consumers to access the Internet at affordable price levels without worrying about time on a usage-sensitive tariff basis. Its high speed/large capacity characteristics enable users to transmit not only a huge amount of information but also video with realistic sensations, and allow people and society to enjoy a considerable amount of benefits by overcoming restraints to date.
Broadband platforms, which can provide access at affordable prices with ease-of-use and transmit large-volume information, invigorate activities of individuals, corporations, NGOs, administrations, etc. and improve efficiency thereof, thus contributing to socioeconomic development of economies regardless of developed or developing.
   - Broadband platforms, as a basis for corporate activities in the future, will contribute to improved efficiency and strengthened competitiveness, as well as to the realization of a higher quality of life in a range of aspects.
   - For instance, in developing economies, broadband platforms enable not only the resolution of pending issues, such as improvement of teledensity, through introduction of VoIP (voice over IP), but also contribution to progress in the field of basic human needs (BHN), including telemedicine, distance learning, etc.
Broadband platforms will facilitate further exchanges of people between different countries/areas and cultures with different backgrounds, thus i) promote economic integration, ii) deepen mutual understandings, which can contribute to stability and order of the international community. They will also stimulate human creativity which can lead to new values.
Considering trends that broadband platforms with such significance as mentioned above are being deployed, it is vital to deliberate upon new initiatives, including measures for dealing with various issues, while taking into account the existing initiatives to date.

3. Significance of broadband platforms in Asia
  It can be said that in Asia there exist many world's leading examples of broadband systems. Here, the reasons for discussing Asia, in particular, are as follows:

  1) In Asia, the development status varies by countries/economies. Broadband systems are, however, anticipated to greatly contribute to socioeconomic development of each country/economy regardless of developed or developing. Especially, as Asia has a huge population and potentials for future growth, it is considered that use of broadband systems will bring about broader benefits.

  2) Asian countries/economies (including Japan) have closer relationships with each other in geographical, social, economic and cultural aspects. Along with the internationalization of corporate activities and development of economic integration within the Asian region, from the viewpoint of promoting mutual understanding in the international community, it is considered that human exchanges and communications among Asian countries/economies will become more and more important. Thus, it is anticipated that broadband systems will accelerate further these trends, including free trade agreements (FTA).

  3) Broadband systems are expected to play a role in ensuring the cultural diversity of the Asian region to some extents (contribution to the construction of a "world with unique individuality").

  4) As a result, with increased information distribution within the Asian region, when comparing the tripolar of Asia, North America and Europe, it is anticipated that the capacity for transmitting information toward the rest of the world from Asia, at present not necessarily high, will be strengthened.

From now on, it is vital to diffuse broadband systems in Asia and actively promote use of broadband systems, which will bring about desirable effects such as the socioeconomic development of Asia, promotion of exchanges/integration within the Asian region, maintenance of cultural diversity and increased information transmission from Asia to the world.

Chapter II. Current status and challenges (summary)

1. Infrastructures

(1) Domestic network infrastructures
  1) In Asia, broadband platforms have recently been speedily deployed, as exemplified by the Republic of Korea the leading country in terms of penetration rate. On the contrary, there are countries/economies that lack even telephone lines. As such, the differences among countries/economies are huge.

  2) When considering Asian countries/economies in terms of penetration rates of broadband platforms, etc., it is possible to mainly classify them into the following three categories:

A)    Countries/economies with higher penetration rates of broadband platforms (Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei, some cities in China, Singapore.)
  In these countries/economies, the deployment of broadband platforms has been rapidly progressing in recent years. Actual use of broadband platforms, is however not processing satisfactorily when compared with line capacities available for use. Thus, further promotion of actual use of broadband platforms should be deemed an urgent task.

B)    Countries/economies with higher potential for future deployment of broadband platforms (Malaysia, Thailand, China, Indonesia, the Philippines, etc.)
  In these countries/economies, the deployment of broadband platforms has been progressing in urban areas to some degree. However, the penetration rate is near to zero. With respect to the Internet, its penetration into rural areas is still low

C)   Countries/economies with the lowest penetration rates of plain old telephone service and the Internet, much less of broadband platforms (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, etc.)
  In these countries/economies, there is a lack of communications infrastructures even for the plain old telephone service, the most pressing requirement is to construct basic information and communications infrastructures (even in these countries/economies, by constructing broadband platform, the IP telephony (VoIP) network can be provided.).

  3) Even in the same countries/economies, there are extreme variances in the penetration rates of broadband and the Internet between urban and rural areas. Appropriate infrastructures need to be constructed in rural areas.

  4) Such differences are caused by i) higher prices for access services derived from lack of competition, ii) slowness in the diffusion of PCs, iii) limited demand derived from lack of attractive applications/content, and iv) shortfall in human resources, and so on.

  5) Recognizing the existence of such a digital divide, there are targets and action plans concerning access to the Internet, etc. in the Asia-Pacific region.

"Tokyo Declaration: Asia-Pacific Renaissance through ICT in the 21st century, Asia-Pacific Telecommunity -- APT Asia-Pacific Summit on the Information Society (November 2000)"
"We Ministers declare that we will do our best, in both domestic efforts and through international co-operation, to enable people in the Asia-Pacific region to have access to the Internet by the year 2005 to the extent possible, including access from public facilities such as schools and post offices."

APEC Leaders' Declaration - Brunei Darussalam (November 2000)
"… commit to develop and implement a policy framework which will enable the people of urban, provincial and rural communities in every economy to have individual or community-based access to information and services offered via the internet by 2010. As a first step toward this goal we aim to triple the number of people within the region with individual and community-based access by 2005."

e-ASEAN Framework Agreement (The Fourth ASEAN Informal Summit in 2000)
"Members states shall enhance the design and standards of their national information infrastructure with a view to facilitating interconnectivity and ensuring technical inter-operability between each other's information infrastructure. Member states shall work towards establishing high-speed direct connection between their national information infrastructures with a view to evolving this into an ASEAN Information Infrastructure backbone. Complementing the ASEAN Information Infrastructure, Member States shall work towards developing ASEAN content, relating but not limited to, cooperation in digital libraries and tourism portals. Member States shall work towards facilitating the setting up of national and regional Internet exchanges and Internet gateways, including regional caching and mirroring."
* Targets concerning Internet access are not set forth.

Each Asian country/economy is implementing various measures to promote use of the Internet, including development of an ICT national strategy. On the other hand, there are countries/economies without sufficient legal frameworks for to promote competition. There are few countries/economies at present that set forth targets, to promote the deployment of broadband platforms.

(2) International network infrastructures
1) At present, the transmission capacity of circuits between each country/economy in the Asian region is small in comparison with those in the North American and European regions. Considering the future potential of Asia and the inter-related geographical, social, economic and cultural aspects, etc., it is, however, forecast that the transmission capacity within the Asian region will grow dramatically in the future.

Lack of transmission capacity has not been reported up to now. However, along with the growth in penetration rates of broadband platforms and the Internet, the shortage of transmission capacity will occur with higher probability.

2) When looking at the data of line capacities between "Asia and North America" and "Asia and Europe", this is small in comparison with the trade amounts between those regions (in this case, the closer ties between North America and Europe of history, culture and economies need to be taken into consideration.).

3) The current information distribution within the Asian region is dependent on situation in the U.S., such as network congestion, because Internet backbones are mainly routed via the U.S. Communications within the Asian region tends to be delayed by traffic congestions in the U.S. and round trips to the U.S. This results in a difficult situation in ensuring the quality of communications.

4) It is considered that the setting up of ARIX, national and regional Internet exchanges in ASEAN countries on e-ASEAN Framework Agreement.

(3) R&D networks in Asia (testbeds)
  In Asia although there are many networks for use of R&D and verification experiments, the transmission capacities are comparatively smaller than those in the U.S. and Europe. Accordingly, at present the capacities in Asia are used to the fullest. In the future broadband age, the current testbeds will be insufficient to verify new technologies.

Asian networks for R&D purposes are not integrated network systems but in reality a kind of organic system linking individual networks in each country.

2. Use of broadband infrastructures
Some pointed out problems that, nonetheless because broadband infrastructures are already available, use of those infrastructures is not in progress, or the lack of demand causes reluctant attitudes to construct those infrastructures, resulting in a situation in which people cannot fully enjoy their benefits.

(1) Building of technologies and legal schemes comprising key platforms
  In order to deploy broadband infrastructures, it is essential to build common technologies and legal schemes comprising the basis for intellectual property rights, etc. With regard to the current status in Asia, for example, the following problems need to be solved in the future:

1) Basic technology and regulations
Legal schemes per se for intellectual property rights have been prepared. However, software is still pirated because relevant laws and regulations are not fully enforced.

2) Personal certifications
Almost all personal certifications are conducted based on ID number and password systems. With these systems forged names or other falsifications cannot be prevented.

3) Standardization
With respect to the distribution of ICT equipments in the Asian region, compulsory standards for such equipments should be introduced to ensure interconnectivity in some cases, but not in others. Thus, there are limitations such as not being able to assess the overall situation of the region.

4) Character codes
Some Asian languages do not have standardized character codes yet, and all the standardization of the character codes do not fully reflect the requests of people and society using their language.

(2) IPv6
  It is concerned that with the diffusion of broadband constant access services, IP addresses will run out, especially, in Asia. As IPv6 has various advantages, many countries/economies come to recognize the necessity of introducing IPv6.

IPv6-ready verification experiments and commercial services have just begun (IPv6-ready services are, however, very limited and their users are very few). In the years ahead, through solutions of necessary hurdles for smooth transition of overall Internet infrastructures from IPv4 to IPv6, it is vital to further promote the transition.

(3) Applications
  There are many and various applications for using broadband infrastructures, for example, e-governments, e-commerce, distance learning, telemedicine, business (telework, etc.), distribution of digital content, on-line games, and so forth.

1) e-government
Each country/economy is striving to establish e-governments. The implementation status varies country by country. Experts in this field are very few.

2) e-commerce
e-transactions have been expanding, and the pace of expansion will be accelerated in the future. At present, the ratio of B2B to B2C is overwhelmingly large.
In order to promote use of e-commerce, it is indispensable to further prepare platforms for personal certification, etc.

3) Distance learning
Educational services via networks are on the rise, and various projects as part of international cooperation are being implemented. Japan is implementing distance-learning projects including the POST-PARTNERS Project, the Pilot Project for global distance training, JICA's J-NET Project for distance technical cooperation, etc. in the Asia-Pacific region.
At present, however, lacking sufficient communications infrastructures supporting interactive education and large-volume data transmission, anticipations are placed on further deployment of broadband platforms. It is vital to ensure human resources such as technical staff, etc.

4) Telemedicine
The health and medical care field is of higher priority as the BHN. Telemedicine can be divided into two categories: the telemedicine in the narrow sense of the word which covers actual medical practice, and the one in the broader sense which includes the provision of health and medical information, either of which people expect much from.
With respect to the telemedicine in the narrow sense, the current stage is that diversified pilot projects are being implemented in developing countries/economies. Japan has been actively implementing the satellite network operation experiment project, the POST-PARTNERS Project, etc. in the Asia-Pacific region.
At this point, communications infrastructures supporting advanced telemedicine are in preparation. Local medical staff and technical staff supporting telemedicine are insufficient in both quality and quantity.
Expectation for the telemedicine in the broader sense is also great.

5) Business(telework, etc.)
The globalization of economies and the diversification of individual working patterns are becoming increasingly distinct, so that the benefit of utilizing a broadband environment to establish the system for international division of labor and to select a working pattern suitable for one's lifestyle, etc. is great.
Teleworking is employed in some advanced areas, however, preparatory stages in other areas.

6) Distribution of digital content, and on-line games
The distribution of digital content and on-line games receive popularity. Such phenomenon is expected to expand through the creation of platforms for accounting, etc. and the preparation of a broadband environment.

(4) Digital Content
  In order to promote diffusion of broadband systems, in addition to building of infrastructures and platforms, the key factor is attractive digital content.

There are the following obstacles preventing digital content from distributing on the Internet:

1) Rulemaking on content distribution
Challenges are building of intellectual property rights protection and smooth digital rights management (DRM) schemes, development of certification/billing/settlement methods, standardization of communications methods, etc.

2) Restrictions on content distribution in a multilingual environment
In Asia, content distribution among cultures with different languages is hindered by the existence of many languages in Asia. Machine translations are limited to some languages.
In the world of the Internet, the English language is prevailing. Although there are websites written in their own languages and English, in general, information posted on English-language websites is insufficient.
* Reflecting the growing weight of video in content as a whole through deployment of broadband infrastructures, differences in languages limiting information distribution among Asian countries/economies are becoming smaller than before.

In order to promote digital content distribution, the above-mentioned obstacles shall be removed. In parallel, from the viewpoint of strengthening exchanges among Asian countries/economies and information transmission capabilities from Asia to the world, it is vital to promote creation/distribution of digital content through i) preparation of an environment for continuously creating attractive digital content and original local content, and ii) preparation of digital archives for sharing digital content over the web.

Statistics on actual content distribution in Asia are not prepared at a sufficient level. Well-prepared statistics will contribute to the development of intra-region infrastructures.

3. Human resource development and human exchanges
  Developing countries/economies lack human resources in the ICT field as a result of insufficient infrastructures and exodus of ICT technicians/engineers to developed countries. This hinders diffusion, etc. of ICT, resulting in obstacles for socioeconomic development.

To date, the problem of human resources has been recognized as a huge challenge. There remain the following problems:

(1) Programs of Japan
  In case of Japan, under JICA's technical cooperation scheme, ICT experts in developing economies are being nutured. The number of accepted ICT-related trainees from the Asia-Pacific region is 300 to 400 on an annual basis. However, it cannot be said that this scheme meets the rapidly growing ICT needs in the region.

(2) Programs of international organizations
  The Asia Pacific Network Information Center (APNIC), that conducts activities for stable operation of the Internet in the Asia-Pacific region, is implementing a human resource development project on a limited scale.

(3) Uniformity
  There are cases where efficient implementation of training is impeded because of the differences in the trainees levels.

(4) Materials
  In human resource development in the ICT field, course materials, etc. are written mainly in English. Local-language materials are insufficient which has a detrimental effect on the accumulation of ICT knowledge.

(5) Human exchanges
  Procedures to obtain visas for ICT technicians are inefficient.

(6) Distance learning
  Distance-learning is the one of the most efficient way to learn ICT. On the other hand, some people in Asia cannot use not only telephone but also Internet.

4. Japan's official development assistance (ODA) , etc.
  The ODA budget for the ICT field was about 300 million dollars, 2% or more of the total ODA budget (FY2001). Of the ICT-related ODA budget, about 90% is for financial cooperation (grant aid, Yen loans), and the rest 10% for technical cooperation (dispatch of experts, training, etc.).

In recent years, the ICT-related ODA budget is in a downward spiral. One of reasons for the decline is the decreased number of ODA targets resulting from privatization of state-run operating bodies in each country/economy.

At the Kyushu-Okinawa Summit meeting held in July 2000, the then Prime Minister, MORI Yoshiro stated that Japan would take comprehensive cooperation measures to narrow the global digital divide such as preparing a national budget of about 15 billion dollars in total including the non-ODA and ODA fund for five years from 2000.

5. Efforts at international organizations, international frameworks
  At multilateral frameworks in the Asia-Pacific region, including APT and APEC, various human resource development projects and international joint experiment projects are being implemented.

Chapter III. Measures to be taken

1. Desirable promotion of broadband introduction/diffusion in Asia

  The promotion of introduction/diffusion of broadband in Asia must be based on the following points:

  1) For diffusion of broadband, an idea that the preparation of infrastructure is just enough must be set aside. It must be accompanied by lower and affordable rates encouraging further use, applications and content attractive enough to make users feel firsthand the need for broadband (as understood from the fast diffusion of broadband in the Republic of Korea, infrastructures and applications are two wheels of the cart). It is important to push forward with infrastructure development and promotion of use at the same time and generate their synergy.

  2) Carrying out 1) above by the private-sector initiative is a fundamental approach to be taken. Each government, however, is expected to: (a) formulate national strategies, develop the legal system, and build key infrastructures for technological development, etc.; (b) provide public services (administrative services, education, medical care, etc.); (c) provide public information, including that of weather, disaster prevention and environment; and (d) devise measures to bridge the digital divide in developing countries/economies, etc. In addition, NPOs and research institutes are also expected to play their respective roles.
It is important that all these governments, private companies, research institutes and NPOs work on these problems in close liaison with one another, instead of acting in isolation. It is also important that each takes a responsible approach (ownership) in solving its problem without expecting assistance from other entities.

  3) In the light of a progress in globalization and a move toward conclusion of free trade agreements (FTAs) and economic partnership agreements (EPAs) in Asia, it is important that the Asian countries/economies make a joint international effort, in addition to their isolated efforts.
Also, it is vital that the broadband is promoted so that it can be used effectively for solving problems in Asian countries/economies and the Asian region as a whole. In particular, considerations must be given to the development and exchange of human resources.

  4) A great diversity across Asia in the status of diffusion of broadband and economic climates must be sufficiently taken into account. Thus, various efforts for diffusion of broadband must not be made as a blanket procedure, but an appropriate method matching up with the situation of the country/economy should be devised, which includes going ahead with it within East Asian and ASEAN countries in the case of Japan, Korea, China, etc. that have already a relatively good environment and making efforts to bridge the digital divide by paying special attention to countries/economies without matured infrastructure and rural areas.
Also, it is necessary to give full consideration to the diversity of Asian cultures, etc.

For the above, it is essential that stakeholders and organizations in Asia collaborate with one another on diverse actions, including review of joint projects and systems, by sharing recognitions and setting up common targets for promotion.

2. Specific measures to be taken

(1) Formulation of strategies for diffusion
  It is necessary to lay down a national strategy whereby interested parties take a responsible approach. Many countries/economies have a national strategy for ICT, but in the future they will be under pressure to devise a national strategy that takes broadband fully into account. It is important to promote international cooperation and assistance by holding policy dialogues and dispatching experts.
Also, considering that broadband has been diffused in some of the countries/economies in Asia, it is necessary to make an international research into factors behind the diffusion of broadband there, share knowledge of and use results of the research for diffusion in other countries/economies in the future and build databases of best practices (examples of success), etc. for each of the problems so that they can use the databases for mutual benefit.
(2) Building broadband infrastructure

1) Building domestic infrastructure

a) Development of targets
In order to raise the incentive for promoting diffusion of broadband through cooperation of the industry, government and NPOs, it is deemed important to lay down specific targets with regard to the improvement of infrastructure. These targets possibly include specific numerical targets, such as those focused on promotion of upgrading and diffusion of broadband Internet access (number of broadband users, etc.), which is available at a low/affordable price through enhancement of ICT national strategies in the light of conventional measures for building and diffusing the Internet. In this case, it is also necessary to consider the targets as laid down in the existing Asian regional organizations, such as APT.
To allow contribution to the countries/economies without national strategies on broadband, it is considered important that the countries/economies with a head start in diffusion of broadband should foster cooperation toward establishment of concrete/feasible targets and national strategies, by providing information concerning theipolicies and actual results, dispatching experts who instruct these countries/economies in setting up targets, having policy dialogues, etc.

b) Promotion of preparation of infrastructure
Promotion of infrastructure improvement in Asian countries/economies is in principle carried out by the private sector. The fundamental role of central governments is to promote competition among private businesses, ensure simplified and transparent procedures to grant a license, and improve business environments including improvement of the legal system in related areas.
To be conducive to these environment preparation efforts, it is vital to facilitate collaboration among the governments and strengthen linkage with private businesses, by holding policy dialogues and fora among the countries/economies, exchanging views, sharing knowledge and experience through the multilateral conferences, dispatching experts, and offering policy assistance using websites like the Japanese government's "DO Site." (

c) Measures in regions where infrastructure is yet to be sufficiently prepared
For developing countries/economies and rural areas, there is a limit in many cases in building the infrastructure by private businesses. Thus, assistance from the government is required. For example, infrastructure preparation by ODA, etc. is one of the important alternatives. Specifically speaking, installation of fiber-optic networks for trunk lines and construction of access networks in rural areas have to be contemplated with an eye toward a future move to broadband and by taking into account their economic development effect upon developing countries/economies.
In addition, appropriate measures, including formulation of infrastructure building plans through collaboration with the government and private businesses and implementation of research on development approaches under assistance and cooperation from international organizations and NPOs, are also vital. Concrete examples of infrastructure preparation include establishment of an Internet Center in a public facility like post offices, and installation of low-cost IP-based wireless access system.

2) International infrastructure preparation in the Asian region
Assuming that broadband prevails in the Asian region with a huge population and the amount of international information distribution increases down the road, it is readily understood that the current infrastructure is totally deficient in the transmission capacity. Thus, a low-cost, high-quality international infrastructure allowing smooth distribution of attractive broadband content is required to be prepared across the national borders in Asia.
For this reason, it is necessary to promote international cooperation for international infrastructure development in close liaison with private businesses and Internet-related organizations in those countries/economies. The efforts include clarification of traffic structure through streamlining of various kinds of statistics (amount of traffic, amount of information distribution, etc.), and promotion of mutual cooperation among ISPs to maintain a stable and reliable broadband environment by ensuring connectivity, such as through facilitation of interconnection by promotion of peering and enhancement of backbone networks.
In addition, it is essential to improve efficiency and economy of Internet traffic within the region by making transition to a network structure allowing direct information distribution within the region, while building international IXs within Asia to transform Asia into the world's information and communications hub. It is necessary to make R&D and verification experiments required for that purpose and to encourage joint research, etc. for promotion of information distribution among the countries/economies within the region.

3) Development of a new infrastructure specially designed for use in Asia
Considering the importance of a role to be played by satellite communications in Asia with so many mountainous areas and remote islands, work toward development of satellite key technologies utilizing multicasting and technological development and commercialization of new broadband infrastructures, including the ultrahigh-speed Internet satellite (WINDS: Wideband InterNetworking engineering test and Demonstration Satellite) and Quasi-Zenith Satellite System, etc. will become necessary.
Also, the Focus Group 712, which was inaugurated in the ITU Telecommunications Development Sector, is engaged in research and development of new telecommunications technologies for rural areas. The group introduces technologies for establishing access to the Internet from rural areas. Namely, it introduces wireless routers, IP telephony and satellite-based Internet access. It is important to pass the results obtained here in this group on to rural areas.

(3) Preparation of technologies/legal systems as the key infrastructure for broadband in Asia

1) Improvement of the common legal or technological infrastructure (platform) for promoting use of broadband
For protecting intellectual property rights in the Asian region, it is necessary to consolidate and implement rules on the intellectual property rights in accordance with international treaties/conventions. In concrete terms, we must encourage Asian countries/economies to join and implement WIPO-related treaties, keep monitoring of legal systems of WTO member states and their operation, and call upon non-WTO member states to give stronger protection of intellectual property rights through bilateral negotiations.
In addition, it is important to work toward establishment and standardization of a system of ensuring security/reliability and also authentication and billing systems, etc. For example, a verification experiment needs to be made for introducing authentication techniques that are being accumulated in the process of realizing e-Government, etc. into network layers.
In order to contribute toward smooth distribution of ICT equipment, an investigation into and exchange of information on the status of Asian countries/economies relative to the presence of request for interconnectivity in compulsory standards must be promoted even further through APEC, APT, etc.
Although real-time video communications systems for use in production of broadband video have not been sufficiently developed, it is important to push forward with R&D of technologies that promise to be needed in the future, while promoting the standardization within the Asian region and discussions for proposal to make it as an international standard, by using the APT Standardization Program (ASTAP) as a setting for promoting them.

2) Promotion of IPv6
To promote diffusion of IPv6 in Asian countries/economies, it is important that the government, industry and NPOs cooperate for active promotion.
The administration of each country/economy must establish targets and implement concrete measures for diffusion of IPv6. International verification experiments and technological development with respect to IPv6-ready equipment, applications and content will have to be made also by using international testbeds.
Private companies of each country/economy are expected to use these testbeds effectively to promote standardization of IPV6-ready equipment, such as information home appliances, and development of applications and content, thereby stimulating demand for IPv6 in Asia.
In addition, by promoting international fora and other activities for IPv6 diffusion in various countries/economies of Asia, we can expect enhanced understanding of and enlightenment effect vis-a-vis the need for IPv6.
Each sector of the government, industry and NPO must be in close liaison with one another in order to organically combine their activities and consolidate their relationship for positive promotion of IPv6 in Asia.

3) Improvement of character codes
In improving character codes, it is important to reflect the request from the people and society who actually use the language. A special consideration is required for minority languages in particular.
An effort is necessary in integrating as many languages as possible into the Unicode, which takes an important position in character codes. However, it lacks the participation of interested parties from Asian countries/economies who use the language in the development at the Unicode Consortium of character codes for the respective languages. Participation of the interested parties in the consortium must be considered.

(4) Promotion of use of broadband
  Diffusion and development of broadband is not merely a problem of infrastructure, as understood when looking at the situation in Japan where lines installed are not utilized sufficiently despite a progress in infrastructure development. Besides development of the common grounds with respect to the legal system and technical development, it is important to promote concurrently the use of them, including development of applications and content drawing fully on their characteristics, thereby arousing users' demand for them.
1) Setting up the target for promoting the use of broadband
To promote the use of broadband, it is considered useful for each country to set up a clear target. Also, in the multilateral relations in Asia, it may be a possible approach to create a benchmark for the status of introduction and diffusion of applications within the Asian region.
A factor cited as impeding diffusion is the fact that the advantage of using ICT has not necessarily penetrated in the public of individual countries/economies. Against this backdrop, we must promote a public relations effort in letting the general public know the benefit of ICT, including that of broadband. For instance, establishing an Internet Center in a public facility and holding events leading to diffusion of IPv6, etc. are considered to be most effective for making a deeper penetration of ICT among the public.

2) Promotion of various uses of broadband
A possible necessary measure for developing attractive broadband applications for Asia is to build a testbed for broadband-related technological development and verification experiments and makes it available for use in a broad spectrum of international joint research by Asian research institutes.
In this case, to expand the use of broadband, it is necessary to pay also particular attention to how lines with the United States and Europe can be secured. The way of securing lines of sufficient capacity must be well deliberated, such as through effective use of existing lines.
In addition, in order to meet the ever-increasing business activities and human exchange beyond national borders in Asia, it is necessary to build a mechanism for international collaboration linking together the countries/economies of Asia, including the actual use of them.

For individual applications, the following promotion is possible, by considering the effect of using the broadband.

a) In the light of the importance of developing human resources in Asia, the meaning of broadband that can present true-to-life video for education and training is significant. In the future, it must be promoted even further for "e-learning" through international joint projects.
Also, in the broadband environment, an educational method that is different from the conventional face-to-face education becomes necessary. Not just in hardware terms, but also a comprehensive effort including review of educational content, method and materials as suitably matching up with broadband will have to be made.
b) The concept of "electronic government" is conducive to improving the transparency of administration. The government and municipalities would have to give it a positive promotion as it promotes the use of broadband by them. Also, the way of reinforcing a system whereby the countries/economies can collaborate must also be considered by using the international framework like APEC.
c) For international electronic transactions in Asia, cooperation among interested parties in individual countries/economies of Asia is necessary for promoting development of classification codes that serve as the common ground.
d) It is also important to broaden the effort for promoting the international exchange of Asian people by making the most of broadband, which allows transmission of true-to-life video. For example, Japan and Korea are implementing a project named "Building a System Utilizing IT toward Realization of Comprehensive Japan-Korea Exchanges (?)," as part of the "e! Project." Expanding such a positive approach to other Asian countries/economies has a great meaning also from the standpoint of promoting international exchange.
e) Promotion of use of broadband in offering public information such as weather, disaster and astronomical data, must be considered. Also, making effort for broadband-based exchange of a huge amount of information for research that can contribute to the solution of diverse Asian and global scale problems, such as environment and agriculture, is also very important.
For instance, by building a broadband-based information-exchange network in the disaster prevention field, sharing of knowledge and experience is made possible. Also, in agricultural field, an improvement in productivity can be expected from broadband-based control of production of agricultural produce and stock farm products and technological development.
f) For broadband-based projects that can contribute to the development of developing countries/economies and rural areas, it is necessary to work more actively toward promotion of ODA projects. They include telemedicine directly connected with BHN and remote education conducive to the development of human resources. To this end, a study must be made of a mechanism of giving a concrete form to the needs from developing countries/economies through efficient and effective use of broadband technologies.
g) From the standpoint of facilitating access to the Internet, Japan, China and Korea are playing a leading role for introducing Internationalized Domain Names (IDN). This will promote the use of the Internet within the Asian region, including the Kanji culture sphere.

3) Promotion of digital content

a) Construction of digital archives (electronic art galleries, electronic museums)
By digitalizing the valuable analog films of a wide variety of Asian traditional cultures and historical legacies or historical videos and saving them, it becomes possible to share them with the people of Asia and of the whole world. This is very beneficial not only for cultural preservation, but also from the standpoints of cultural exchange within Asia, information dispatch from Asia to the world and education as well.13
For this reason, construction of digital archives, such as a virtual museum where pictures of cultural heritages from various countries/economies of Asia are held in electronic forms and film archive systems, must be promoted.
In the meantime, development of human resources for creating attractive content unique to the individual countries/economies, including comics, animations and online computer games, is also important.

b) Development of a broader range of multi-language translation functions
In order to meet the various challenges in multi-language environment in Asia, development work to realize more solid functionalities in machine translation and searching should be promoted.
However, since it is difficult to readily adapt to all those numerous languages in Asia, it must be pursued in phases.
As the first step, the technique and approach to be used for machine translation and search functions between the major languages (Japan, Chinese, Korean, English, etc.) must be established as soon as possible. For typical languages, R&D and commercialization have already started. However, in order to accelerate establishment of advanced techniques and approaches, promotion of financial assistance and cooperation among research institutes in various countries/economies will become necessary.
As the second step, the techniques and approaches to be used for machine translation and search functions between those typical languages and other languages have to be established. This would need a mid- to long-term effort, while deepening understanding and research of other languages.
In order to increase transmission of information from Asia to the world by using the multi-language translation functions, it is important to go forward with operation and management of a portal site capable of accelerating broadband-based intra-regional cultural exchange and information transmission, as has been agreed in the First Japan-China-Korea ICT Ministerial Meeting.

c) Development of statistics
Development of statistics regarding international distribution of digital content in Asia is considered to be another challenge to be addressed down the road, including a possibility to grasp the actual state of affairs and the mode of investigation.

(5) Development of human resources shouldering broadband in ICT fields
  Considering the present situation in Asia in which development of human resources in ICT fields is far from enough, Japan has to set up a specific target and put greater emphasis upon development of human resources through transfer of technologies through dispatch of Japanese experts. In particular, acceptance of a training mission and increasing the number of experts to dispatch for diffusion of broadband will be required.
For measures directed toward development of human resources, stepping up of and cooperation in the effort thereof at each level of private companies, NPOs, etc. are necessary. For intensification and cooperation, it is important to do so to the level of knowledge on ICT. Above all, for diffusion of broadband, it must be recognized that nurturing of ICT engineers and technologists with advanced specialized knowledge is absolutely indispensable. In concrete terms, the following measures need to be considered as the targets.

1) Deepening of recognition on the importance of development of human resources in ICT fields
Up until now, Japan has developed human resources through technological cooperation from JICA. However, in future, Japan has to execute policies to ensure that the individual countries/economies in Asia, rather than Japan, must deepen their understanding of the importance of development of human resources in ICT fields and focus on the development of human resources in ICT fields.

2) Strengthening of development of human resources through international organizations
To intensify an effort of developing human resources, which is going on at international organizations, such as the Asia Pacific Network Information Center (APNIC), investigation is required on the needs for human resource development that developing countries/economies may require international organizations, so that they can intensify their effort in that respect.

3) Strengthening of training at the level of private companies
In-house training at Japanese private companies in the ICT field is assumed to have a lot more substance than in other Asian countries/economies. Effective reuse of such experience must be contemplated, such as offering the countries/economies with such knowhow as obtained through in-house training as a business operation.

4) Establishment of an ICT expert bank
It is necessary to establish an international ICT expert bank in NPOs, etc., consisting of strongly motivated ICT experts in individual Asian countries/economies, build a system whereby appropriate ICT experts can be dispatched depending on the needs of developing countries/economies and contemplate implementing finely-tuned human resource development.

5) Establishment of ICT training centers
To help nurturing of ICT engineers and technologists, each country or region should contemplate establishment of an ICT Training Center for them. Japan should contemplate a financial assistance for establishing the ICT Training Center or dispatching ICT experts as instructors to that center by using ODA.

6) Promotion of remote education, such as e-learning
Based on a renewed recognition of the effect of remote education, such as e-learning, which can cover a broader range without limitation, Asian nations should contemplate measures for promoting e-learning. For instance, development of textbooks in their own languages and introduction of a low-cost and efficient remote education system would have to be promptly started. Also, the improvement of infrastructure environment toward the realization of remote education in those countries/economies must be implemented as soon as possible.

7) ICT experts bank
It should be considered to establish a system which would meet such developing country needs as demand for technical supports by ICT experts or other aids of this kind. In this sense establishing an ICT experts database, or it may be called "ICT Expert Bank" would contribute to challenge such needs and efficient use of the experts internationally.
8) Stepping up personnel exchange
Relaxation of conditions for issuance of entry visas to ICT researchers and simplification of such procedures should be considered. Also, each country should contemplate facilitating human travel so that exchange of top-notch ICT researchers and engineers become active within the Asian region.

(6) Promotion of development of developing countries/economies (ODA related)
  In private investment-initiated (incl. OOF, which is public funds invested to commercial projects) offering of broadband, projects may concentrate on urban areas where future development and business income are expected and in countries/economies that are experiencing economic growth. For this reason, the digital divide may be further expanded between urban and rural areas, and between economically growing countries/economies and developing countries/economies.
In the Comprehensive Cooperation Package, ICT is perceived as a field to grow by private initiative, and the public sector is to give a complementary hand in private sector's positive efforts by way of policies and human resource development. However, considering the importance of bridging the digital divide, the non-commercial ODA-based assistance to the rural areas and developing countries/economies will have to be expanded further so that development of infrastructure in those countries/economies can be accelerated.
The present form of ODA is based on requests from recipient countries/economies. Although numerous requests are received from developing countries/economies, there are so many among them that have not matured enough, such as those of low development sustainability and those of which effect upon economic development is very low, which makes it difficult to select superior ones. Thus, it will be necessary to contemplate replacing the current request-based scheme to the positive project formation.
Furthermore, within the limited ODA budget, there is undeniably a limit to implementing ICT-related projects. Thus, there should also be discussions on positive contribution of international organizations, such as effective use of ICT related funds contributed to UNDP, ADB, etc.
In the light of all this, the roles played by ODA for promoting the Asia Broadband Program include the following:

1) ODA
a) Implementation of ICT-based projects, such as remote education and telemedicine, in addition to the conventional style infrastructures, such as communications networks
Construction of infrastructures is important, without need to mention. However, it is not enough to fuel demand for ICT.
From the standpoint of diffusing ICT, if a Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) is to be installed in community centers in rural areas and is connected to the universities in urban areas for giving remote education, the effect of the diffusion of education and the convenience of using ICT will be made clear. Also, by connecting hospitals in rural and urban areas via communications lines for telemedicine, people in rural areas will be able to live a life with peace of mind and learn firsthand what convenience ICT brings with it.
In the ODA for the ICT field, based on the recognition that the economic development effect can be heightened by implementing ICT-based projects for basic human needs, such as education and medical care, execution of ICT-based projects must be promoted concurrently with upgrading of infrastructures.
These are not directly related with diffusion of broadband. However, they will enable broadly appealing to the public in developing countries/economies about the convenience of ICT. It will eventually heighten their interest in Internet connection, hopefully promoting diffusion of ICT and broadband down the road.

b) Implementation of proven high-grade projects in other countries/economies
Presently, in Malaysia, JICA-initiated Internet-related development survey named the "Study on Enhancement of Info-Communications Access in Rural Communities in Malaysia" is being carried out. This is expected to become an highly-rated project to which Malaysian public reacts favorably.
These highly-rated projects that have already been executed and found to have a high economic development effect in one country must be implemented in other countries/economies as well so that it can bring further knock-on effect. For this purpose, instead of just considering the execution of projects solely based on request from developing countries/economies, Japan has to introduce to a developing country high-grade projects that have been tested and proven in other countries/economies and devise a system whereby the countries/economies can implement that particular project.

c) Further implementation of ODA for multiple countries/economies
As mentioned above, conventional-style infrastructure development cannot be denied completely, because there are still many countries/economies where even such infrastructures have not been provided yet. For these countries/economies, considerations must be made of not just a shortage of domestic telephone lines, but also a balance with other countries/economies by increasing international telephone lines. Increasing the international telephone lines leads to effective promotion of broadband between the individual Asian regions. From the increase in lines, an increase in opportunities of using the Internet and a reduction of charges from an increase in demand can be expected.
The ODA intended for multiple countries/economies, for example for a road or bridge project that links two different countries/economies, is realized by separately closing a contract with each of the countries/economies. Such project is not totally without precedent. In the meantime, these projects are exceptional among all ODA projects that are in principle based on bilateralism. And these ODAs for multiple countries/economies do not tend to increase.
However, diffusion of broadband does not end within the country. Lines must be internationally connected for balanced development of Asia. Developing countries/economies have even more need to have a rich base of international telephone lines.
Not merely bilateral ODAs but ODAs that can be extended beyond conventional restrictions must also be considered for balanced development of Asia.

2) OOF (Other Official Flows (Non-ODA public funds))
Under the global-scale ICT depression, private investment in ICT field is generally sluggish and it is stymieing the private-sector-driven broadband development. In this situation, OOF cannot exert its effect either.
OOF cannot hit full stride without effective measures to find way out of this situation, and because of the continued slowdown in private investment, there is also a fear that diffusion and introduction of broadband does not go anywhere.
In order to work up the heat of private investment, each country must take various steps for arousing private investment leading up to diffusion and introduction of broadband, such as macroeconomic policies, preferential taxation and investment incentives in ICT fields, improvement of competitive environments, building of infrastructures and education/training on ICT.

3) Cooperation with international organizations
Not just bilateral assistance by ODA, but assistance through international organizations in the form of a special contribution or contribution of funds are also being extended. Moreover, responding to the Comprehensive Cooperation Package, Japan is contributing funds to the ITU, APT, UNDP, ADB, etc.
As a contributor of these funds, Japan has to appeal to the Asian countries/economies for positive use of these funds, and study, jointly with international organizations, the ways of ensuring even more effective use of funds. For high-grade projects that have however been unqualified for ODA due to budgetary restrictions, we must contemplate convincing international organizations to utilize funds, etc.
In addition, to allow interconnection between GDLN of the World Bank and the J-NET of JICA, it is important to pump up the effort for collaboration, given our effort to be able to respond to international organizations' effort.

3. Framework of promotion

(1) Improvement of the framework of promotion of introduction and diffusion of broadband in Asia
  In promoting the introduction and diffusion of broadband in Asia, it is important to do so in a smooth and integrated manner. For this purpose, we must contemplate establishing the international framework, including placement of full-time staff for that purpose. In doing so, it may be appropriate to consider, including utilization of existing organizations, such as the Asian Info-Communications Council (AIC) in which a broad range of related organizations in Asia participate and dedicated staff are in place.

(2) Utilization of existing international frameworks
  By making the most of available opportunities for discussion with the individual Asian countries/economies, including the Japan-China-Korea ICT Ministerial Meeting and Japan-ASEAN Bilateral Meeting on ICT Cooperation, continued discussions on diffusion of broadband in Asia, including the afore-mentioned measures, should be promoted at a governmental level.
Also, although remote education, development of human resources, etc. have been tackled in the framework of APT and APEC (TEL), we have yet to see an action for such broadband challenge. For some of the matters mentioned above in this report, the use of APT, APEC (TEL) Broadband Workshop and AIC should be considered as a method of solving them.
Among NPOs and private companies, various organizations like APNIC, APNG and AIC are staging activities for diffusing ICT, including development of human resources. These organizations should promote the activities for diffusion of broadband, under an organic collaboration of the industry, academia and government.
Sharing experience and findings through the United Nations ICT Task Force, an international framework for promoting development using ICT, and the Dot Force that was launched by the G8 initiative, should also be considered.

(3) Improvement of a framework for domestic promotion
  To positively promote the Asia Broadband Program, development of a framework for domestic promotion is also important. It is expected to serve as a control tower for comprehensive promotion within the country, and should provide a comprehensive promotion based on a good understanding of sharing and collaboration among the government, private sector and NPOs, securing of funds, and international relations.

Chapter IV. Points to be paid attention

1. World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)
  A United Nations event the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) is scheduled to be held in two phases with the first phase to be held in 2003 and the second in 2005, with the purpose of formulating a declaration of realization and action plans, toward the establishment of a common vision concerning "information society" in the world, and promotion of understanding. Infrastructure building, services and applications will be placed on the agenda .
Presenting the necessity of diffusion of broadband in these WSIS sessions is considered useful. In the situation in which even telephone lines are not sufficiently installed in some countries/economies, the opinion that discussing broadband is quite a bit of a jump, may not be groundless. However, considering: a) that broadband has a significant effect on development of developing countries/economies through telemedicine and remote education it brings to them, b) it consequently causes renewal of facilities due to technological innovation, and c) with its usefulness in preserving cultures of respective countries/economies, the usefulness of broadband in these developing countries/economies should also be great. Considering that developing countries/economies have "latecomer's advantage", it is considered appropriate for both developed and developing countries/economies to come to grips with introduction and diffusion of broadband in a forward-looking manner.
It is very useful to able to share this understanding in WSIS meetings. Here, the Asia with a good broadband penetration can become a very good model to the whole world. WSIS meetings would be a major opportunity to present the "Asia Broadband Program" and contribute to the development of the program.
Also, the WSIS Asian Regional Conference (January 2003) is to be held in Tokyo. For the above reasons, proposing to the governments, private companies and NPOs of Asian countries/economies on matters related with this report to get their understanding is considered to be the first step of contribution of Asia to the world, and also the first step of transmission of information to the world.

2. Japan's effort in Asia

  For Japan's effort to Asia up to the present, the following have been pointed out:
  1) Financial rather than personnel cooperation forms the nucleus of its cooperation. For personnel cooperation, especially young personnel and personnel from companies are not highly visible.
  2) The status of achievement of the Comprehensive Cooperation Package (so-called the promise of "a total of 15 billion dollars over five years") through use of public funds in the form of ODA and non-ODA, which is mentioned in the "Japan's Comprehensive Cooperation Package to Address the International Digital Divide" that was published from the Japanese government at the time of the G8 Kyushu-Okinawa Summit, in July 2000.
  3) There is a concern over a comedown in Japanese presence in Asia.
Also, as indicated in Table 1, Chapter I, the model that Japan takes the lead and other Asian countries/economies follow with Japanese cooperation, does not necessarily hold in the field of broadband.
What is fundamentally required for broadband development in all of Asia and uplifting of Asian presence in the world includes a positive effort, including cooperation based on "equal partnership" among the countries/economies in Asia. The Japanese government, companies and NPOs also need to have an attitude and action of engaging themselves in promotion of broadband in Asia, including cooperation based on "equal partnership". It is needless to say that there is a need for strengthening cooperation and promoting personnel exchange between the industry, government, academia and NPOs. Japan is expected to make further effort not only for achieving the targets in the promised Comprehensive Cooperation Package, but also for executin actions that truly lead to the interests of Asia. The Japanese industry is also expected to positively meet various challenges with medium- and long-term prospect, for the benefit of Asia and by extension of the whole world, without being bound by the short-term profit-seeking. It should be born in mind that these can eventually mean a sustained source of profit to the industry as well.

3. Relationship to island nations in the Pacific Ocean and turning Okinawa into an international hub of information and telecommunications
  We have discussed diffusion of broadband in Asia. This discussion must also be made in the future with regard to expansion of application to the island nations in the Pacific Ocean where a positive ICT effort is being made. Implementation of various measures to be promoted in the Asia Broadband Program are started with the ones applicable to island nations in the Pacific Ocean, with an eye toward cooperation with broadband-advanced countries/economies like Australia.
Okinawa has deep geographical, social and cultural connections with Asia. Toward the goal of turning it into an international hub of information and telecommunications, numerous measures based on the "Okinawa International Information Special District Project" (August 2000) as proposed by the Okinawa Policy Council have been implemented. Promotion of the initiative is also clearly stated in the "e-Japan Priority Policy Program - 2002." It is important to study its relationship with the Asia Broadband Program in which Okinawa intends to convert itself into the world's telecommunications hub.

Chapter V. Closing (summary)

  We have discussed current status, challenges and measures to be taken in this report.
We strongly expect governments, private companies, NPOs in Asian countries/economies to implement proposals in this report individually and/or cooperating each other.
Especially, we recommend Japanese government to take into consideration of proposals in this report for making up "Asia Broadband Program" and implement them constructively.

   ITU-D Focus Group 7 () At the World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC) at Valletta, Malta in 1998, the "technological developments that have the potential to support interactive multimedia services in rural and remote areas" was adopted as one of the Valletta Action Plan. In 1999, the Focus Group 7 (FG7) was established as a focus group that comes to grips with development of new technologies for rural areas in March 1999. It submitted a report in September 2000.

   (In the "e-Japan Priority Policy Program - 2002," there is a description to the effect that digital archiving is promoted.
"e-Japan Priority Policy Program - 2002" by the IT Strategy Headquarter, June 2002 [Partial excerpt]
(4) Concrete measures
2) Public fields
b) Computerization of arts and culture fields
[a] By FY2005, necessary measures are taken to ensure that important official documents relevant to the relations with Asian countries/economies and cultural assets and works of arts as held by the government and local governments are converted into electronic form so that the information can be provided in and out of Japan through the Web sites of respect agencies (Cabinet Office, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology and their related agencies).