Ninety-five per cent of individuals in the sultanate are using the internet daily, according to the Brunei Darussalam ICT Household Report 2019, with smartphones being ranked as the top device used to go online.
In a press statement to mark World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD 2020) which falls on May 17, the Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications (MTIC) underlined how connectivity has now become a key requirement for Brunei.
“This is in line with the vision of the MTIC in its Strategic Plan 2025, towards a ‘Connected Smart Nation,” the statement read.
“As of 2019, mobile phone usage has reached 134% of the population. Meanwhile, coverage of 4G services ranges from 70% to 98% across all the four districts,” the ministry added.
According to the ICT Household Report 2019 released by the Authority for Info-communication and Technology Industry for Brunei Darussalam (AITI) in March this year, smartphones have the highest ownership percentage standing at 88%, with the trends of device ownership between 2016 to 2018 indicating that people used smartphones more than laptops.
With the smartphone being ranked Brunei’s top used device, household ownership of laptops has seen a significant decline within the past few years from 93 per cent in 2016 to only 61 per cent in 2018.
This rings true for tablets as well with only 33 per cent of Bruneian households owning the device in 2018 compared to 62 per cent in 2016.
Findings for the report concluded that the top three household internet activities are seeking information and general knowledge (78.6%), messaging and teleconferencing (74.4%) and social media (71.1%).
Some noteworthy trends of ownership device highlighted by the report include the emerging popularity of wearable devices such as smartwatches, as 11 per cent of households were reported to own some form of wearable technology.
Digital TV set ownership has also seen an increase standing at 54% in 2018, indicating that more people owned digital TV sets than regular TV sets (36%) or smart TV sets (23%) with the latter two seeing a decline from 64 per cent and 32 per cent in 2016 respectively.
In the statement, the MTIC pointed out how several initiatives on new technologies applications such as artificial intelligence (AI) and big data have been implemented by various ministries and agencies under a whole of nation collaboration to mitigate the current COVID-19 situation.
“Online services by the government and private sectors have been expanded to further accelerate service delivery to the public,” it read.
These services also include facilitating online learning for students, where a donation drive for computer devices was jointly organised by the Ministry of Education, MTIC and the AITI.
“To date, more than 1,600 units of computer devices have been received to be distributed to the students in need,” the ministry added.
Holding the theme; “Connect 2030: ICTs for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”, this year’s WTISD focusses on specific ICT-enabled solutions and emerging trends for fostering “economic, environmental and social sustainability”.
This is intended to contribute to the five strategic goals of the Connect 2030 Agenda: growth, inclusiveness, sustainability, innovation and partnership.
“In moving towards a Connected Smart Nation, MTIC continues its support for more collaborative efforts amongst government agencies, GLCs, the private sector and the users to address the main five strategic goals of the Connect 2030: ICTs for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Agenda,” the statement concluded.
Subsequently, to commemorate the WTISD even further, AITI has organised a quiz competition on their Instagram @aiti.brunei as well as on the radio.
The questions are based on how ICT has made an impact on three Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the sultanate namely; poverty, sustainable cities & communities and industry, innovation and infrastructure.
The competition is intended to bring more awareness to the public on the importance of ICT adoption and to promote technology integration into their daily lives.
This is in hopes to enable the public to reap the benefits and become self-sustainable especially during these trying times.
The Bruneian | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN