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Growing the Internet 29 June 2020

Beyond the Usual: Challenges, Opportunities, and Insights in Asia-Pacific

Rajnesh Singh
By Rajnesh SinghRegional Vice President - Asia-Pacific

Last month, we held our inaugural APAC Insights. The idea behind this is to bring together thought leaders and subject matter experts to discuss issues related to the Internet and its use in the Asia-Pacific.

However, the intention is not to make this another run-of-the-mill talk shop – rather, we want this to be a forum that shares and contrasts experiences, explores challenges and opportunities in a pragmatic way, and provides attendees insights into the issues beyond the usual.

With the global pandemic causing major disruptions to our professional and personal lives, the topic for the first APAC Insights zoomed in on the role the Internet has played in helping communities deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

Speakers from across the region – representing the world’s largest Internet shutdown to the world’s strictest – discussed initiatives that worked well and those that didn’t work so well, and the critical role of the Internet in rolling out these initiatives. During a Q&A segment, attendees had the opportunity to ask the speakers questions.

One of the key points made was that even though the Asia-Pacific is regarded as a mobile-first region, the shutdowns demonstrated (in some countries in particular) how fragile connectivity can be.

Also highlighted was the fact that countries which had prioritized national broadband networks and digital infrastructure were able to better cope with moving to a work-from-home environment.

A pressing concern is the new digital divides that are being created. This has many dimensions – from infrastructure to quality of connectivity to content and services available. Related to this is affordability – what one can afford often determines what one is able to access online.

Archived versions of the session are available on FacebookLivestream and Periscope and I invite you to view at your leisure.

Please join us for our next APAC Insights on Tuesday, 30 June at 0600 UTC (11:30am Delhi, 1pm Bangkok, 2pm Singapore/Hong Kong, 4pm Sydney, 6pm Auckland/Suva). Follow us on Twitter or Facebook for updates and registration information.

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Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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