Information and communications technology (ICT) has become a key enabler in the new digital economy and society, providing us with opportunities for transformation in a wide range of socioeconomic sectors. It has dramatically transformed the way we live and work and plays a role as a main catalyst in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). There is also a growing recognition of the importance of resilient ICT infrastructure in this disaster-prone region. The level of ICT resilience matters in terms of facilitating critical emergency responses at a time of disaster and ensuring the availability and reliability of critical information infrastructure and services for people who need it most.
East Asian countries, including China, Japan and the Republic of Korea, have over the past half century experienced a remarkable pace of growth in the ICT sector, experiencing technological development with advanced broadband networks and widespread broadband access. China is going through a distinctive transformation of traditional industries via digital technology and has become one of the largest ICT markets in the world. Capitalizing on the extensive telecommunications networks, Japan is now widely known as a country with well-established e-government and proactively involves the public in decision-making through ICT related channels. The Republic of Korea, a country where it was difficult to access even basic telephony until the beginning of the 1980s, now consistently ranks as one of the most advanced countries in the ICT sector since 2000s.
These achievements possibly result from various factors; along with enabling competition policies and ICT promotion policies, such as infrastructure development, e-government, ICT education and inclusive access, the private sector’s role has been equally important. Given this context, the report aims to explore and identify the driving forces behind the transformative ICT development in these three East Asian countries. More specifically, this report sheds light on the components of national broadband policies (including e-resilience policies), regulations, strategies, and initiatives which may have contributed to the broadband growth and access. Each country has developed distinctive ICT policies and strategies, thus forming an enabling national broadband ecosystem. This working paper provides case studies of each country and detailed analysis under the themes of (1) development of ICT policies and their implementation, (2) disaster management and resilient ICT and (3) challenges and opportunities to identify elements of good practices and lessons learned from the three countries. This approach is expected to help investigate the useful lessons and examples and help develop an enabling national broadband ecosystem in other countries in the region.