Asia telecom market thriving, but Internet slow

Internet adoption is lagging in the Asian region, with the exception of Australia, according to telecommunications analyst Paul Budde.

Despite telecommunications growth in Asia outpacing similar growth in other parts of the world, the Internet has been a "disappointment" in the region. Budde said.

"Lack of affordable basic access rates (local calls), lack of vision to invest in IP-based and broadband infrastructure, and political bickering all contribute to the fact that the Internet is not taking a significant part in the development of education, information and e-commerce in the region," Budde said.

His comments are contained in the Asia Telecommunications Market Analysis 1999 report, released yesterday.

Budde also reports that the telecommunications industry in the region has largely survived and thrived on the recent economic crisis.

In 1999, the Asia market reached $US315 billion, and several overseas carriers -- including BT -- saw opportunities to enter the market as foreign ownership rules were relaxed in some parts, he said.

According to Budde, the crisis also provided opportunities for many countries to reform their telecommunications business and regulatory structures.

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