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Net users on the increase

Net users on the increase

Cambodian are increasingly using the internet, but pricing and penetration levels lag behind much of ASEAN, according to experts.

The Kingdom had some 173,675 internet subscribers in 2010, compared to 29,589 in 2009, according to the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications.

“Cambodian citizens have been receiving more chances to obtain fast internet access,” said Minister So Khun on Wednesday.

Still, internet costs are expensive compared with the average price in ASEAN nations, although prices are dropping year by year, Pily Wong, president of the Information and Communication Technology Business Association wrote yesterday.

But Cambodian officials are linking up with their regional colleagues to talk over the future of the internet.

So Khun and other Cambodian delegates travelled to Kuala Lumpur last week to attend a meeting of ASEAN telecommunications ministers.

The meeting formally adopted the ASEAN ICT Masterplan 2015, which aims to better ICT among ASEAN member nations – largely through increasing broadband access.

“Much has been said about the correlation between higher broadband penetration rates and the increase in GDP. ASEAN very much subscribes to this,” the text of the plan said.

It added that for every 10 percent increase in broadband penetration, GDP grows by 1.3 percent.

The plan pledged lowered intra-ASEAN mobile roaming charges and increases in the level of peering among ASEAN internet service providers, among a number of other initiatives.

However, Pily Wong said he would like to see more pragmatic details explaining how the plan was to be implemented.

“What is the real action plan? What are the real measures? That’s what the ICT businesses really want to know,” he wrote.

“Let’s note that the private sector is the source of jobs and innovations.”

According to a Ministry of  Posts and Telecommunications presentation dated earlier this month, Cambodia has 37 licensed internet Service Providers, of which 16 are in operation.

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