Singapore aims to bridge digital divide with Home Access Programme

  • To benefit 8,000 low-income households, applications open since April 1
  • 100Mbps fibre broadband connectivity, tablet at subsidised rate of S$6/mth

SINGAPORE may already be one of the most connected nations in the world, but it is going further to ensure very citizen has access to a ‘digital lifestyle’ with a ‘Home Access Programme’ that is expected to benefit 8,000 households over the next four years.
 
Developed by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), households with an income less than S$1,900, do not have school-going children, and have at least one Singapore citizen, are eligible for assistance.
 
They can apply for 100Mbps fibre broadband connectivity and a tablet at a subsidised rate of $6 per month. Applications have been opened since April 1, the IDA said in a statement.
 
[S$1 = US$0.74]
 
The programme was first announced by Minister for Communications and Information Dr Yaacob Ibrahim in 2014, who said it would draw on the S$10 million Digital Inclusion Fund.
 
Another programme that draws on the fund is the IDA’s Silver Infocomm Initiative (SII), which earlier this year held an ‘Intergenerational Bootcamp’ where senior citizens were guided on computer use by their grandchildren and student volunteers aged between 10 and 16.
 
The Home Access Programme itself is supported by the National Council of Social Service (NCSS), and is being administered in partnership with community organisations and companies to ensure that everyone can enjoy connectivity and live a digital lifestyle, the IDA said.
 
The five self-help groups – the Association for Muslim Professionals, Chinese Development Assistance Council, Singapore Indian Development Association, Eurasian Association and Yayasan Mendaki – will help process applications.
 
Home Access brochures and applications forms are available at all community clubs and Ministry of Social and Family Development’s (MSF) Social Service Offices, the IDA said.
 
In addition, telecommunications company M1 Ltd, which has been appointed by the IDA as its broadband service provider for the Home Access programme, will conduct free regular training workshops for the beneficiaries.
 
The workshops, starting in June, will help the beneficiaries learn how to use their tablets and email.
 
Singapore aims to bridge digital divide with Home Access ProgrammeRSVP Singapore – the Organisations of Senior Volunteers – is also conducting training sessions for senior beneficiaries of Home Access in May.
 
“In Singapore, no one should be left behind by the march of technology,” said IDA managing director Jacqueline Poh (pic).
 
“IT usage often begins at home, so the Home Access programme will help lower-income households without Internet access get connected to high-speed fibre broadband.
 
“It complements the NEU PC Plus programme which helps school-going children from lower-income households enjoy broadband connectivity and own a personal computer.
 
“Whether it is for videoconferencing, surfing the internet or simply maintaining contact with family and friends on social media, these Digital Inclusion initiatives are designed to help all groups to live, learn, play and feel included in a digitally connected Smart Nation,” she added.
 
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