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In the Asia-Pacific countries, an information superhighway will be created

In Bangkok, representatives from countries in the Asia-Pacific region (APR) have promised to expand access to high-speed Internet for their people. They intend to create a reliable information superhighway using the achievements in the transport sector.

The fourth session of the Committee on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) was held this week in Bangkok (Thailand) from 14 to 16 in October. The participants agreed to create a working group to develop the principles and norms of a regional ICT network and agreed to develop a master plan to strengthen the information superhighway.

These solutions should be an important step towards significantly reducing the cost of high-speed Internet access throughout the region.

Currently, less than 15% of the population in developing countries in Asia and the Pacific have access to high-speed Internet. The situation is even worse in the least developed countries and in the landlocked countries, whose inhabitants are practically deprived of the opportunity to use this kind of communication.

To solve this problem, ESCAP took the initiative to create the Asia-Pacific Information Super Highway. Its goal is to connect the main communication systems of each country in the region to land and sea fiber optic highways. This will lead to an increase in international Internet bandwidth for developing countries in the region and lower prices for Internet users.

Asia today boasts the largest integrated transport system in the world - 143 km along the Asian highway and another 117 km along the trans-Asian railway network.

According to experts of ESCAP, these highways provide great opportunities for combining ICT and transport networks, for synchronizing the laying of ground fiber-optic cables and building transport routes.

In addition to saving money - about 80% - by applying the principle of "dig once, use it many times", this approach will help to increase and diversify the income received from the construction of infrastructure facilities. Governments, private investors and local residents who gain access to communications are the beneficiaries.

Speaking at the opening of the ESCAP Committee of ICT, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP Shamshad Akhtar said that the biggest obstacle to the creation of any new infrastructure is its cost. However, the costs for the fiber-optic materials themselves and cable wires are not so significant. Problems arise in connection with labor costs, obtaining the right to lay roads, especially in cross-border construction.

ESCAP is confident that by creating an ICT infrastructure along transport networks, countries with the greatest need for Internet communications can significantly reduce their construction costs.

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