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Singapore to spend S$100 million to better upgrade fibre network to 10Gbps starting mid-2024.

ByYasmeeta Oon

Feb 22, 2024

In a bid to bolster its digital infrastructure, Singapore has announced a substantial investment of up to S$100 million (US$74.3 million) to upgrade its nationwide broadband network. The ambitious plan, spearheaded by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), aims to elevate internet speeds to unprecedented levels, offering households speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second (Gbps) by 2028. The initiative comes as part of the government’s broader strategy to future-proof the nation’s connectivity and pave the way for emerging technologies.

Investment Details

The nationwide broadband network upgrade, slated to commence from mid-2024 and extend through 2026, marks a significant milestone in Singapore’s digital transformation journey. The infusion of funds, as outlined by the Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong during his Budget 2024 speech, underscores the government’s commitment to catalyzing advancements in digital infrastructure. With the upgrade expected to enable mass-market access to lightning-fast speeds of up to 10Gbps, it promises to revolutionize the digital landscape in the Lion City.

Significance of the Upgrade

At the forefront of the initiative is the aim to provide Singaporeans with access to internet speeds ten times faster than the current standard. With over 85 percent of households already enjoying at least 1Gbps services, the upgrade seeks to future-proof the nation’s connectivity infrastructure. Speaking on the matter, Mr. Wong, who also serves as Finance Minister, emphasized the pivotal role of high-speed internet in supporting emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and immersive media.

Government’s Vision

Minister for Communications and Information Josephine Teo underscored the importance of “future-proofing” Singapore’s digital infrastructure to accommodate evolving technological landscapes. She highlighted the imperative of adequately equipping the nation to embrace the transformative potential of digital advancements. Despite uncertainties surrounding specific use cases, Mrs. Teo expressed optimism regarding the proliferation of immersive digital experiences and the widespread adoption of AI-driven solutions.

IMDA’s Role

IMDA, entrusted with overseeing the implementation of the broadband network upgrade, elucidated on the technical aspects of the initiative. The agency emphasized that the existing fibre network is capable of supporting 10Gbps services, with investments primarily directed towards upgrading network equipment. These enhancements encompass a range of components, from back-end infrastructure to end-user premises, including modem routers. Additionally, IMDA reiterated its commitment to collaborating with industry stakeholders to ensure competitive service offerings and affordable price points for consumers.

Roadmap for Implementation

The upgrade builds upon Singapore’s past investments in digital infrastructure, particularly the first-generation nationwide broadband network established in 2006. IMDA emphasized that these early investments laid the foundation for a robust connectivity infrastructure, facilitating the rapid pace of digital transformation witnessed in recent years. The significance of such investments was further underscored during the COVID-19 pandemic, wherein the nationwide broadband network played a pivotal role in enabling remote work and learning.

Consumer Adoption and Industry Dynamics

Despite the nascent stage of 10Gbps services, several broadband service providers have already introduced offerings in the market. Providers such as StarHub, Singtel, and MyRepublic launched 10Gbps broadband services last year, signaling growing consumer demand for higher-speed internet. However, IMDA noted that current service offerings remain limited and relatively expensive, necessitating government intervention to accelerate the upgrade and lower the cost of investments.

Addressing Consumer Needs

In tandem with the infrastructure upgrade, the government has underscored the importance of ensuring that the benefits of enhanced connectivity are accessible to all segments of society. Recognizing that affordability remains a key concern for many households, particularly amid economic uncertainties, efforts are underway to explore mechanisms for subsidizing the cost of equipment and service packages. By incentivizing broadband service providers to offer competitive pricing and value-added bundles, the government aims to make 10Gbps services more accessible to a wider demographic.

Moreover, initiatives are being explored to enhance digital literacy and awareness among Singaporeans, equipping them with the skills and knowledge to leverage high-speed internet effectively. Training programs, workshops, and educational campaigns are being rolled out to empower individuals and businesses to harness the full potential of advanced connectivity. By fostering a digitally savvy populace, Singapore endeavors to bridge the digital divide and ensure that no one is left behind in the digital revolution.

Economic Implications

The broadband network upgrade is poised to have far-reaching implications for Singapore’s economy, catalyzing innovation, entrepreneurship, and job creation across various sectors. The availability of ultra-fast internet speeds will unleash new opportunities for digital businesses, enabling them to develop and deploy cutting-edge applications and services. From e-commerce and fintech to healthcare and smart manufacturing, sectors reliant on robust digital infrastructure stand to benefit immensely from the enhanced connectivity.

Furthermore, the upgrade aligns with Singapore’s aspirations to position itself as a leading hub for technology and innovation in the Asia-Pacific region. By investing in state-of-the-art digital infrastructure, Singapore aims to attract top talent, foster a vibrant ecosystem of startups and scale-ups, and drive sustainable economic growth in the long run. The availability of high-speed internet is not only essential for powering the digital economy but also for bolstering Singapore’s competitiveness on the global stage.

Societal Transformation

Beyond its economic implications, the nationwide broadband network upgrade holds the potential to catalyze profound societal transformation. As Singaporeans gain access to faster internet speeds and advanced digital services, new opportunities for social interaction, entertainment, and education emerge. From immersive virtual experiences to personalized learning platforms, the possibilities are endless in shaping the future of how individuals connect, learn, and engage with one another.

Moreover, the upgrade is expected to facilitate the adoption of emerging technologies such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and the Internet of Things (IoT) in everyday life. Smart homes, connected devices, and autonomous systems are poised to become more prevalent, reshaping urban living and enhancing the quality of life for residents. By embracing these transformative technologies, Singapore aims to create a more inclusive, sustainable, and resilient society for future generations.

Conclusion

The nationwide broadband network upgrade represents a crucial step towards fortifying Singapore’s digital infrastructure and maintaining its global competitiveness. By embracing cutting-edge technologies and enhancing connectivity, Singapore aims to unlock new economic opportunities and empower its citizens to thrive in the digital age. As the nation embarks on this transformative journey, collaboration between government agencies, industry players, and the community at large will be instrumental in realizing Singapore’s vision of a connected and digitally empowered future.


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Featured Image by shayne_ch13 on Freepik

Yasmeeta Oon

Just a girl trying to break into the world of journalism, constantly on the hunt for the next big story to share.