In the developing region of Asia and the Pacific, less than 15 per cent of the population has access to high-speed Internet, and the situation in the least developed countries has not improved during the last 15 years according to the latest report of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). To address this issue, ESCAP, in its resolution 71/10, endorsed continued work on the Asia-Pacific information superhighway initiative. The initiative aims to improve regional broadband connectivity through a dense web of open access cross-border infrastructure that will be integrated into a cohesive land- and sea-based fibre network with the ultimate aims of increasing international bandwidth for developing countries in the region, lowering broadband Internet prices and bridging the digital divide in the region
The aim of this Regional Cooperation Framework Document is to identify areas of cooperation between member countries, in particular how they can cooperate and collaborate at the regional and subregional levels in support of the implementation of the Master Plan for the Asia-Pacific Information Superhighway. It also includes areas of cooperation with the subregional organizations, international financial institutions, the private sector and other United Nations agencies. The Master Plan is intended not as a substitute for member countries’ and stakeholders’ initiatives and plans related to information and communications technology (ICT), but to add value in order to improve seamless ICT connectivity and increase interconnections by deploying regional broadband networks, establishing sufficient Internet exchange points, enhancing ICT infrastructure resilience and providing inclusive access to broadband Internet for all in the AsiaPacific region.