Policy Drafted To Expand Broadband Services

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU), a U.N. agency whose aim is to support the global telecommunication industry, has drafted a new national policy for Cambodia designed to extend Internet access and other information technology in the country.

The draft policy was presented to Telecommunications Minister So Khun on Monday at the ITU’s Asia-Pacific Regional Development Forum, which is being hosted in Phnom Penh this week.

“Very soon, the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications will officially issue the National Broadband Policy, which has been developed with support of the ITU,” Mr. Khun said.

Mr. Khun set out some ambitious aims for the policy, which would aim to increase access to and applications of broadband, which gives a high-speed connection for Internet, television and other media.

Hamadoun Toure, secretary-general of the ITU, told the fo­rum that the ITU had joined with UNESCO in 2011 to set up the Broadband Commission for Digital Development, which promotes the expansion of high-speed broadband networks in developing countries.

Mr. Hamadoun said the commission was aiming to “make broadband policy universal by 2015.” As part of this initiative, he said, the ITU was providing technical assistance on Cambodia’s broadband policy with a focus on “universal access and universal service.”

According to the most recent estimate from the World Bank in 2011, fewer than 450,000 people in Cambodia have access to the Internet, although mobile Internet access is likely to have increased this figure.

Efforts to expand broadband access are already underway, with a $180 million project involving Chinese and Singaporean investors expected to lay 9,000 km of fiber-optic cables across the country by 2015.

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