25 years of internet connection, foundation for Vietnam’s digital economy, digital society

(VOVWORLD) -  On November 19, 1997, Vietnam officially connected to the global Internet network, marking an important milestone in the country's information and communication industry. After 25 years, the Internet has become an indispensable part of the life of millions of Vietnamese people, and is the foundation for Vietnam to develop a digital economy and digital society.

25 years of internet connection, foundation for Vietnam’s digital economy, digital society - ảnh 1(Photo: Thai Binh newspaper)

In 1991 Professor Rob Hurle of the Australian National University and Mr. Tran Ba Thai of the Institute of Information Technology conducted an experiment to connect computers in Australia and Vietnam via telephone lines. In 1994 the Institute of Information Technology, through the NetNam company, became the first Internet service provider in Vietnam, with an email service using the national domain name .vn.

Important milestones

VNPT and NetNam were the first enterprises to provide Internet services, using the telephone network infrastructure. The access speed was quite slow.

According to the Vietnam Internet Association, Internet development saw a breakthrough when ADSL broadband (MegaVNN) was launched in 2003. ADSL broadband technology allowed users to access high-speed Internet and use other services such as telephone and fax at the same time.

In 2009, the FTTH fiber optic internet was officially deployed with significantly faster network access speed than ADSL. At that time, VinaPhone rolled out the 3G network, ushering in a new era of Internet in Vietnam. This was the first step of the mobile broadband Internet boom in Vietnam.

Since 2010, Vietnam’s Internet has grown strongly and has moved from copper cable to fiber optic cable. With the advent of smartphones, individual began using the Internet on their mobile phones. Between 2016 and 2017, telecommunications businesses rolled out 4G services.

Foundation for digital economy, digital society

Since the early days when it had only a few thousand Internet users, Vietnam now has nearly 68.7 million users - 70% of the population. The Internet is now available everywhere and is used for everything from education and healthcare to transportation and e-government. The Internet has become a familiar tool used by a majority of Vietnamese people in their daily lives.

Chairman of the Vietnam Internet Association Vu Hoang Lien, said: "Vietnam is now one of the 20 countries with the largest number of Internet users. The Internet has become a key part of the Government’s development strategy for achieving Vietnam’s goal of digital transformation."

Vietnam has successfully transitioned the Internet to a new generation operating with IPv6. 50% of Vietnam’s Internet users use new generation Internet protocol (IPv6), ranking Vietnam 10th in the world.  

Nguyen Trong Duong, Deputy Director of the Department of Informatization of the Ministry of Information and Communications, said:  "According to an assessment issued in November 2020 by GSMA Intelligent, a digital society is built on five main pillars: connectivity infrastructure, digital identification, digital citizenship, digital style, and digital commerce. Vietnam’s ranking on these five pillars within the region is average. It’s behind Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore."

With approximately 72% of its population using smartphones, Vietnam is one of the countries in Southeast Asia with good growth of the digital economy. Vietnam's digital economy last year was valued at 21 billion USD, up 31% from 2020, contributing more than 5% of the country's GDP. The e-Conomy SEA report published by Google, Temasek and Bain & Company in November 2021, forecast that Vietnam's Internet economy would be the second largest in Southeast Asia and generate 220 billion USD by 2030.

Vietnam's National Digital Transformation Program to 2025 with orientation to 2030 clearly states that Vietnam’s digital infrastructure development will be associated with Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity and 5G technology. In order to ensure the sustainable development and safety of Vietnam's digital infrastructure, Vietnam will focus on upgrading Internet infrastructure and platforms.

Plans are in place to expand regional and international Internet connections and develop undersea fiber optic cables to make Vietnam one of the connectivity hubs in the region. The transition to the new generation Internet protocol (IPv6) will help Vietnam connect more strongly with the global information society.