Brunei’s telecoms set for upgrade in prep for “Smart Nation”

by Haadi Bakar
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The government wants to improve Brunei’s infocommunications infrastructure as it looks to strengthen the country’s digital economy and encourage a thriving e-commerce sector.

The Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications (MTIC) said it is now working closely with the Finance and Economy Ministry and other relevant agencies to review the need to upgrade the country’s telecommunications infrastructure in order to facilitate business, reduce cost of doing business and increase productivity.

MTIC Minister YB Dato Seri Setia Abdul Mutalib Pehin Dato Yusof said that a very robust telecommunications sector is critical to meet the industries’ needs and develop Brunei into a “Smart Nation”.

While infocommunications contributed 1.6 per cent to Brunei’s GDP, YB Dato Abdul Mutalib said there is still room for improvement as this sector could contribute significantly towards other sectors’ growth.

The minister, who was speaking during the launch of the Smart Future Forum on Wednesday, also stressed on the growing importance of cybersecurity and data protection as the nation becomes increasingly “smarter”.

And with the Fourth Industrial Revolution looming ahead, he urged all stakeholders to be more agile in terms of governance, processes and frameworks, in ensuring that they are responsive to the industries’ needs.

According to a 2016 ICT Household Survey, 75 out of every 100 households in Brunei have internet access.

With this high level of connectivity, the minister said, Brunei is also presented with the need to adapt to digital technologies. 

Brunei is looking to diversify itself from oil and gas. In 2017, the country’s infocommunications sector contributed 1.6 per cent to its GDP, but the MTIC said there is still room for improvement as this sector could contribute significantly towards other sectors’ growth.

Organised by the Authority for Info-Communications Technology Industry of Brunei Darussalam (AITI), the Smart Future Forum saw speakers from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC); Singapore‚Äôs Smart Nation and Digital Government Office (SNDGO) and Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) delivering talks on smart sustainable cities, 5G and blockchain technology.

The two-day forum at the Empire Hotel & Country Club was aimed at sharing ideas and approaches on Smart Nation initiatives that can be adopted in Brunei.

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