ASEAN Digital Divide in the 2010s


  • Akaranant Kidsom


Digital Divide, ASEAN


Digital Divide is a vital issue regarding the closing of development gaps both within and between countries. To make a better economic, social, and political integration between ASEAN member countries, leading to ASEAN Community, bridging this gap is essential. This research aims to explore the digital divide situation among the members. There are 8 countries, during the decade of 2010s, included in the study i.e. Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. An Index illustrating the accessibility of four digital media, i.e. fixed-line telephone, mobile telephone, fixed broadband internet, and mobile broadband Internet, is made for assessing digital convergence between the member countries. Rank order correlation is also being employed for additional analysis.

The study concludes that there is evidence showing the digital convergence among the members  although there are visible gaps between them. With the current speed of convergence found, it is expected that by the year 2015 majority of member countries would have relatively equal access to these four digital media. However, 5G mobile network investments may be seen as a digital divide gap bridging obstruction. 

            Policy recommendation for bridging the gap is that the member countries' income must be made more equally by more utilizing the existing agreements, e.g. trade agreements between ASEAN member countries and non-ASEAN countries. Moreover, improving educational systems and online education to promote digital literacy with relevant applications among member countries might help close the gap. Further research, in answering in-depth challenges faced by a specific country, a specific area, or a specific group of people, is recommended.


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บทความวิจัย (Research Article)