THE Internet and the emerging concept of an information superhighway will be key areas of focus at LAN-WAN Asia '94. One afternoon session is devoted to the subject and will feature several presentations looking at the relevance of the superhighway and the Internet to the Asia-Pacific region. Leigh Baker from Oracle's office in Australia will address the Relevance Of The Information Superhighway To The Asia-Pacifc Region, while Professor Ray Hunt will look at the Internet as a Global Communications Resource For Asia. In addition, a panel of speakers will look at the relevant issues affecting carriers, service providers and end users. According to those involved in the Internet in Hong Kong, this is a timely subject for the conference as the Internet emerges as an increasingly powerful force in the region. It is important to pay attention to the different operational model under which Asian service providers must operate. ''The cost model for being an Internet service provider in the States is very different from the one in Hong Kong because of the cost of the the trans-Pacific link,'' said Pindar Wong of Hong Kong SuperNet, one of the territory's Internet service providers. Mr Wong said it was unlikely that an information superhighway could emerge in Asia at the pace it was in the United States. ''One basic constraint is bandwidth, while in the continental US this is not a problem,'' he said. A T1 connection to the United States, the widest available connection today, would cost a provider or carrier in Hong Kong about $600,000 per month, a prohibitive cost without an extremely high volume of customer usage. ''There's a mismatch of bandwidth to price which somehow needs to be paid,'' he said. As such, beyond basic information transfer, the signs of an information highway seem far off. ''To talk about interesting applications you need a fast pipe which costs a lot of money,'' Mr Wong said. ''It's a Catch-22: will the demand be there if the pipe is not there?'' But a demand was likely to emerge in about a year as Chicago, Microsoft's successor to the current version of Windows, becomes available. Microsoft claims the operating system will be SLIP-(Serial Line Internet Protocol-) ready. This should create a new group of PC users who want to connect to the Net and run demanding applications such as Mosaic.