Unleashing the Potential of the Internet for ASEAN Economies – A joint report by TRPC and the Internet Society

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As the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) goes into effect this year, this report looks at data on Internet connectivity, infrastructure and investment across 10 ASEAN economies and proposes broad and specific measures by which the region can, with the Internet’s help, create a single market and production base.  It highlights two critically important features of the emerging digital economy and society:

  1. That networks central to the overall functioning of a digital economy, such as broadband telecoms and the Internet, banking and financial networks and online payments systems, are interconnected, allowing anyone at anytime and anyplace to communicate and transact with others.
  2. That the operating systems running those networks and the applications they support can operate across networks. For example, e-health networks allow doctors, patients, clinics, emergency services, e-government systems and any authorized persons access to the applications and content, such as medical records, on those networks.

In other words, inter-operability as well as interconnectivity. These two elements constitute the essential framework for policy makers and project managers. They can and should be used as guideline from the planning and design process through to the implementation and operational processes. This will result in the resources of an Internet economy being used optimally to create digital processes and services.

Failure to follow the framework will result in projects that fall short of expectations and in the long rum cost more to put right.

Key FindingsInternet penetration

ASEAN, while diverse, can be clustered into three groups by Internet penetration rates

  • Above 60%: Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia
  • 25%-50%: Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam
  • 1%-20%: Indonesia, Cambodia, Lap, Myanmar

Wholesale and Retail Process

In lower-income countries the price of Internet is a challenge.

Mobile Phones and Wireless Devices

In all ASEAN countries the use of mobile phones has over taken fixed lines, and the cost of devices such as smartphones and tablets fall, there is a clear trend toward even greater usage of mobile devices to access the Internet.

There are still significant gaps in national network coverage in several ASEAM countries that urgently need to be plugged in if the Internet is going to be more universal.


The role of wireless broadband is the growing means of Internet access for low and middle-income citizens of ASEAN economies

Network capacity

The role of the government in cases of market failure is to help bridge the gap between supply and pent-up demand until a sustainable virtuous cycle of Internet development can be started.


The lack of international bandwidth and anti-competitive market conditions for IXPs and ISPs translate into unaffordable Internet access and poor speed in countries that need it the most.

Rethinking the Digital Economy Roundtable Series

This forum series aims to introduce and share key findings of the report and gather feedback from national stakeholders to discuss the way forward at the national level. The forums will bring together a diverse group of stakeholders including senior government officials, leading academics, relevant industry representative bodies, and private sector representatives.

Philippines, 23 Mar, 2015

At the ISOC-TRPC Rethinking the Digital Economy event on 23 Mar 2015 at Manila, Philippines, ISOC and TRPC jointly launched the “Unleashing the Potential of the Internet for ASEAN Economies” report, which takes stock of the Internet infrastructure of the region and outlines the actions necessary to support the Internet connectivity goals of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Blueprint.

Indonesia, 21 May, 2015

At this Regional Roundtable on Rethinking the Digital Economy on 21 May 2015 at Jakarta, Indonesia, ISOC and ICANN hope to discuss key findings of their reports, Unleashing the Potential of the Internet for ASEAN Economies (undertaken by TRPC for ISOC) and Which Wheels to Grease, respectively. Our aim is to solicit advice and support from key regional and national stakeholders and translate the recommendations of the reports into actions.


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