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Vietnam Seeks Opinions on Draft Decree for Internet-Based Services

A seminar was recently organised to gather experts’ opinions on amendments and supplements to Decree 72, which is regarding the management, provision, and use of services and information on the Internet. The decree aims to create more relevant regulatory frameworks for the growth of the Internet and digital economy in Vietnam. The seminar was held by the Vietnam Digital Communications Association (VDCA) in collaboration with the Institute for Policy Studies and Media Development (IPS) and the Asia Internet Coalition (AIC).

According to a report, at the event, the VDCA Chairman said that the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly changed how people interact with the world. Meetings, entertainment activities, video games, and transactions of goods are all non-fungible tokens (NFTs) made trans-nationally he noted. Digital technology plays a critical part in recovering, sustaining, and boosting economic growth in the post-pandemic period. As Vietnam expects the digital economy to account for 20% of its GDP by 2025, the government has not only been accelerating the development of digital infrastructure but also improving related policies, particularly those related to Internet-based services. For example, cross-border information provision services, cloud computing, data storage, online games and social networks are included in the draft decree.

Attendees at the seminar made recommendations related to cyber-information security, the settlement of disputes on copyright, fake news, domain names, licensing social networks, online games, among others. The IPS will continue collecting feedback on the draft decree online which will be submitted to the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) and relevant agencies for finalisation.

The Internet infrastructure in the country is set to receive considerable investment in 2022 to meet users’ growing demands. The number of Internet subscriptions in Vietnam hit a record last year with nearly 71 million mobile broadband subscriptions and 18.8 million fixed ones. Respectively rising 4% and 14.6% from 2020. Internet users accounted for two-thirds of the population. Internet traffic also grew strongly, by over 40%, in 2021. Telecom businesses have also stepped up developing broadband infrastructure. So far, the 5G network has been piloted in 16 provinces and cities, 4G covers 99.8% of the population, and cable Internet services reached 100% of communal-level localities.

As OpenGov Asia had reported last month, although there has been steady growth, repeated breakdowns of undersea international cables greatly affected the domestic Internet quality. There are five undersea cable routes currently operating in Vietnam, namely AAG, SMW3, IA, APG, and AAE-1. Two others, SJC 2 and ADC, are scheduled to be put into use in 2022 and 2023. Meanwhile, other countries in the region have more routes such as Singapore (30), Malaysia (22), and Thailand (10). Compared to them, international infrastructure serving internet connection in Vietnam remains modest. Experts believe that it is crucial to develop infrastructure for international Internet connection on par with regional countries.

To improve broadband Internet quality, the government should focus on upgrading bandwidth and modem devices’ capacity, widening domestic and international bandwidth, and amending standards. Developing digital and cloud computing infrastructure and boosting the digital economy and telecoms, are among the country’s top priorities between now and 2025.


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