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The 9th APEC Ministerial Meeting on Telecommunication and Information Industry (APEC TELMIN9)

Speech by

Mr. Abdul Mutalib Yusof, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Head of Delegation,Brunei Darussalam

Plenary Session 3: “Promoting Safe and Trusted ICT Environment” of the 9thAPEC Ministerial Meeting on Telecommunications and Information Industry(TELMIN 9), 7 –8 August 2012, St Petersburg, Russia

Honorable Ministers, Excellencies, ladies & gentlemen, a very good afternoon. First of all, on behalf of our Minister of Communications, Minister PehinDatoAbdullah, I would like to convey his apologies for not being able to be hereat the 9thAPEC TELMINdue to unavoidable circumstances.   OurMinister also wishes to thankour kind host,His Excellency Mr. Nikolay Nikiforov, Minister of Telecomand Mass Communications of the Russian Federation for hisinvitation and the hospitality accorded to ussince our arrival here in St Petersburg.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

2. This afternoon I would like to share with you some of our perspectives and views with respect to this session’s theme ‘ Promoting Safe and Trusted ICTEnvironment’. Let me elaborate what a Safe and Trusted ICT environment means to Brunei Darussalam.  There are are four (4) key dimensions to be addressed in this context, namely i)Competition and Market Capitalisation; ii)Resilient and Reliable ICT Infrastructure;iii)Users’ Assurance and Protection; and iv) International Co-operation.

3. Firstly, allow me to touch on Competition and Market Capitalisationin the ICT sector. As we know it already,the Asia Pacificregion accounts for half of the total mobile connections in the world, with 3 billion lines. By 2015 Asia Pacific is expected to account for 40% of global data traffic. A GSMA 2011 report estimated 5.3 billion Mobile-to-Mobile connection in the Asia Pacific will be made by 20201.

1 Asia Pacific Mobile Observatory 2011, GSM Association  




4. Brunei Darussalam plays a contributing role to this phenomenal growth. Like most other economies, ourmobile phone penetration has exceeded 100% since20082 and is currently reaching 120% as we speak.According to an ITU 2011 Report, Brunei Darussalam is in the world’s top 20 of the active mobile broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants3.Despite being a small market economy, Bruneicurrently ranks No.1in Asia for the social network Facebook users with a penetration rate of 60per cent4.We have a population of about 400,000 and the registered number of users is about 230,000, just to give you an idea. An estimated 60 to 70% of these users access their Facebook through their smart phones via mobile broadband.

5. This significant growth is a direct result of competition in the mobile communications industry. Since the introduction of a second mobile operator in 2005, mobile voice, data and broadband services have become more and more affordable and accessible. A decade of monopoly since 1995 in mobile communications saw relatively a slow growth in uptake due to high pricing and simply no choice.  To further capitalise on a regional mobile users market, the local telcos are encouraged to proactively engage in commercial

arrangements forsustainable roaming charges and to progressively go into international markets.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

6. In this regard, it is the Government’s policy through theMinistry of Communications to put in placecompetition and further market capitalisation to benefit the consumers with a choice of affordable, quality and attractive ICT services. This policy is in line with the Ministry’s vision to make Brunei Darussalam a Sophisticated Society and excellence in communications for enhancing national competitiveness by 2017.

7. On my second point,the need to have a Resilient and Reliable ICT Infrastructure. We foresee that the demandfor ICT services, contentand applications will continue to increase.  In line withsuch growth, the Government of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuanof Brunei DarussalampriotisesICT development as one of the key sectors in realising our National Vision 2035.On 15thJuly 2012this year, His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalamconsented toa budget of B$230millionor about $200million USDfor the Ministry ofCommunications to implementa nationwide broadband initiative through Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH). We also expect to boost the current low fixed broadband penetration of about 12% up to at least 60% by 2017 through this initiative.

8. This Government funded initiative willreplace the currentaging copper cable for a more resilient and reliableoptical fibre last mile connectivity,with a broadband speed of up to 20 mbpstargeting 85% nationwide roll-out under a5 year plan. The remaining15% will be covered by wireless broadband technologies.  This initiative is expected to deliverhigh quality and affordable

high-speed broadband services to homes and businesses, and serves as acatalyst to attract FDI to the economy. 

9. Thirdly, touching on Users’ Assurance and Protection, I wish to share with you several key points. In achieving furtherICT development, we are also facing the inevitable challenges.  The consequences arising from the misuse of ICT are significant.  Brunei Darussalam regards this matter seriously.So serious that on 15thJuly this year, His Majestythe Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam called on theneed to increase our capacity and awareness in monitoring, prevention and enforcementwith respect to positive use of the Internet.  The role of all stakeholders, such asparents, teachers, society and the users themselves are also emphasised. This leads to my key point on Cybersecurity and Cybersafety.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

10. Cybersecurity is an issue that cannot be ignored. Norton Cybercrime Report 2011revealed that 10 percent of adultswho goonline have experienced cybercrime on their mobile phones5. The cases of mobile vulnerabilities are also found to be 42% higher in 2010 than it was in 20096. With ourhigh mobile phone penetration and active mobile broadband users, these findings show us clear concerns that need to be addressedin Brunei Darussalam.

5, 7 September 2011 6 Symantec Internet Security Threat Report, Volume 16, 7 September 2011

11. On this note, the Government has initiated awareness programsthroughits localrelevantvarious stakeholders. The Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry (AITI)of Brunei Darussalam is working

closely with the Ministry of Education to conductseminars on Cyber Security and Internet Etiquette Awareness for secondary school students andtheirparents.  Negotiations are now underway between our BruCERT and the Ministry of Education to include cybersecurity in the curriculum to educate and make youths aware of online scams likephishing through email and social networking sites like Facebook7. 


12. On Cybersafety, young children and youths are notably high users of ICT.  They are however, among the most vulnerable group of users.  According to the ITU: - Around 90% of teens and young adults use the Internet. Over 60% of children and teenagers talk in chat rooms on a daily basis. 3 in 4 children online are willing to share personal information about themselves and their family in exchange for goods and services. 1 in 5 children will be targeted by a predator or paedophile each year.

13. This is a reality that is happening and Brunei is no exception.  Supporting ITU’s initiative onChild Online Protection (COP) Framework, Brunei hosted a COP Workshop in April 2012 this year. Led by AITI and attended by other relevant agencies like the Royal BruneiPoliceForce, theAttorney General Chambers and the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, theWorkshop’s primary objective is to develop a sustainable Action Planand National Framework on Child Online Protection withina period of12 months.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

14. To complement our national initiatives, we are also actively engaging regional and international collaboration.This brings to my last point –International Co-operation.Brunei Darussalam hosted the 4thASEAN -Japan Government Security Network Workshop inJunethis year.  We also participated in the cybersecurity awareness exhibitionheld at APEC TELMIN8 in Okinawa, Japan in 2010. 

15. With the APEC TELMIN9’s theme highlighting security this year, we welcomeand look forward to participatinginAPECTEL’s initiatives on cybersecurity.  Being a smallmarketeconomy, we realise that the consequences from the misuse of ICT will be addressed more effectively through international cooperation and coordination. Hence, we appreciateand welcomethe exchange of information, forging of collaboration and networks among the APEC economies.

16. With the depth of issues to be considered inensuring online environment issafe and trusted, Brunei Darussalam looks closely atregional and international best practicesas its point of reference.  Opportunities for collaborationwill always be highly valuedand welcomed.  As such,I wish to take the opportunity to urgeAPECTEL to continue its cooperation with organizations such as theITU, so that APEC TEL’s plans and initiatives are aligned with the focus areas of ITU particularly in the area of Cybersecurity and Cybersafety.

17. Despite these challenges, Brunei Darussalamis embracing the ICT development as much as we can.  To ensure that our policy and regulatory framework are in line with the technological development, the Government through AITI is currently conducting areview for a convergence regulatory

framework to be completed bytheend of this year. With this review, we hope to see more participation from our local players in exploring the ICT and new media industry.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

18. To conclude, I look forward to gaining further valuable insight intothe best practices among the APEC economies.  With so muchdiversityyet opportunities amongst our 21 economies, I also look forward to further strengthening our cooperationand subsequentlytowards a more proactive implementation ofthe APEC TEL Strategic Action Plan. Let me take the opportunity to commend the good work done by the APEC TELSOM and APECTELWorking Groupin the finalisation of the APEC TEL Strategic Action Plan and the St. Petersburg Declaration for our consideration tomorrow.

19. Thank you for your attention.

Created at 05/12/2015 11:25 AM by Siti Hawa binti Aboo Samah
Last modified at 05/12/2015 11:25 AM by Siti Hawa binti Aboo Samah