Ookla, known for its global leadership in internet speed testing and analysis, hosted its first Telecommunications Regulatory Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The summit gathered more than 40 regulatory participants from ten countries in the Asia Pacific region.
The summit emphasized the critical role of crowdsourced data in effective policy-making. This data aids in identifying connectivity gaps, tracking progress, and enabling more effective regulation of internet services.
5G technology was acknowledged as a potential replacement for fixed broadband in some cases. However, other technologies like satellite and 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) were also highlighted as viable solutions, especially for providing connectivity in remote areas.
The summit stressed the importance of a collaborative approach among governments, regulatory bodies, and private-sector organizations for the promotion of digital infrastructure and customer experience. Case studies like Malaysia's Jendela initiative were cited as examples of effective collaboration.
Despite progress in narrowing the mobile internet usage gap and advances in technology, challenges remain in the areas of device accessibility, affordability, and education about the benefits of connectivity. These issues were identified as ongoing challenges that need multi-stakeholder cooperation for resolution.
Ookla's regulatory summit paves the way for seamless broadband in Asia-Pacific's remote areas
Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines lead in 5G performance, while collaboration is key to closing connectivity gaps
At a glance
Ookla, the global leader in internet speed testing and analysis, hosted its first-ever Telecommunications Regulatory Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The event, held on July 16, 2023, gathered over 40 regulatory participants from ten countries in the Asia Pacific region to explore the role of crowdsourced data in effective policy-making.
The summit underscored the importance of crowdsourced data in identifying connectivity gaps, measuring progress, and enabling data-driven regulation. The shared goal was to extend high-quality broadband services across all areas, including rural and remote locations.
According to Speedtest Intelligence data, while fixed network performance varies across regions, mobile networks are catching up, especially in countries like Malaysia and Indonesia, where 5G performance has already surpassed fixed network capabilities.
5G technology was acknowledged as a potential replacement for fixed broadband in certain circumstances. However, satellite and 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) technologies were also spotlighted as effective solutions for remote areas.
"Adoption of diverse technology solutions is critical for enhancing device accessibility, affordability, and addressing usage gaps," said Mr. Sam Majid, CTIO of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).
The summit highlighted the importance of stakeholder collaboration for promoting digital infrastructure and improving customer experience. Examples like Malaysia's Jendela initiative were cited as case studies where collaborative approaches have been effective.
"With 5G coverage reaching 64.75% as of June 2023 through our Jendela initiative, we are making significant strides in digital transformation," added Mr. Majid.
During a panel discussion, representatives from Laos and Indonesia shared their respective countries' strategies for enhancing broadband connectivity and closing the digital divide. Both nations emphasized the importance of collaboration with the private sector and government agencies.
Ms. Syeda Shafaq Karim, from Pakistan's Telecom Regulator, stressed the benefits of telecom infrastructure sharing as a supportive regulatory framework to enhance a country's connectivity.
Despite the progress, challenges remain, including device accessibility, affordability, and the mobile internet usage gap, which has narrowed from 60% in 2017 to 47% in 2022 in the Asia Pacific region, according to GSMA.
Mr. Kevin Henry of GSMA stated, "Governments and mobile operators have a crucial role in driving internet adoption through subsidies or taxes, as well as educating citizens on the benefits of being connected."
The summit concluded with an emphasis on the critical role of digital transformation, partnerships, and effective regulation in shaping the future of telecom services across the Asia Pacific. Further research and updates on the subject will be available through Ookla's subscription-based service.