Brunei marks World Telecommunication and Information Society Day

Hakim Hayat

According to the Brunei Darussalam Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Household Report 2019, 95 per cent of individuals use the Internet on daily basis in the Sultanate, and as of 2019, mobile phone usage has reached 134 per cent of the population. Meanwhile, coverage of 4G services ranges from 70 per cent to 98 per cent across all the four districts, according to the Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications (MTIC) in a press statement to mark World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) celebrated yesterday.

MTIC added that in Brunei, several initiatives on new technologies applications such as artificial intelligence (AI) and ‘big data’ have been implemented by various ministries and agencies under a whole of nation collaboration to mitigate the COVID-19 situation. The ministry added that online services by the government and private sectors have been expanded to further accelerate service delivery to the public.

In efforts to further facilitate online learning for students, a donation drive for computer devices has been jointly organised by the Ministry of Education (MoE), MTIC and the Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry of Brunei Darussalam (AITI). To date, more than 1,600 units of computer devices have been received to be distributed to the students in need. The MTIC expressed their appreciation to all the donors. As the country moves towards a connected ‘Smart Nation’, MTIC continues its support for more collaborative efforts amongst government agencies, government-linked companies (GLCs), the private sector and the users, to address the main five strategic goals of the Connect 2030: ICTs for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Agenda.

The WTISD is celebrated every May 17 to increase awareness on the possibilities that ICT can bring to the societies and economies. The theme for WTISD 2020, ‘Connect 2030: ICTs for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)’, reflects on the ICT advances for transition to smart and sustainable development. The theme focussed on specific ICT – enabled solutions and emerging trends for fostering economic, environmental and social sustainability, contributing to the five strategic goals of the Connect 2030 Agenda: Growth, Inclusiveness, Sustainability, Innovation and Partnership.

Based on International Telecommunication Union (ITU)’s 2019 Global and Regional ICT statistics, 53.6 per cent of the global population are using the Internet. However, the report said that an estimated 3.6 billion remain offline especially at the Least Developed Countries. On the other hand, Internet usage in developed countries is nearing saturation levels, with close to 87 per cent of individuals are online. For Brunei, the MTIC said connectivity has now become a key requirement and this is in line with the ministry’s vision of in its Strategic Plan 2025, towards a connected Smart Nation.