2: Boosting home-grown tech professionals and Wi-Fi speeds

The number of Wireless@SG hot spots will double to 20,000 by 2018.
The number of Wireless@SG hot spots will double to 20,000 by 2018.PHOTO: ST FILE

Parliament debated the budgets of the ministries of Finance, Communications and Information, and National Development yesterday. These are three highlights.

The Ministry of Communications and Information yesterday outlined several measures to boost infrastructure for a Smart Nation and plug the information technology manpower gap. The key announcements are:

•A total of $120 million is to be spent over three years for existing training schemes to train more school-going children and professionals. The amount is double that spent over four years previously. The goal is to develop more locals to fill an estimated 30,000 new jobs by 2020 for Smart Nation projects. They will be in such areas as software coding, data analytics and cyber security. Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim said: "We must do our best to support Singaporeans to be highly skilled so that they can compete with global talent." His ministry is starting with the very young, beginning with primary schools. More pupils are to get enrichment lessons on coding, under its Code@SG programme. Its aim is to make coding a national capability to create a base of technology professionals.

•Surfing speeds on Singapore's free public Wi-Fi service Wireless@SG will more than double to 5Mbps by the year end.

•The number of Wireless@SG hot spots will double to 20,000 by 2018. This is to better complement the telcos' 4G networks in meeting consumers' rising demand for mobile broadband, and to encourage the roll-out of more Smart Nation services, such as cashless payment and location-based analytics over the public network.

Wireless@SG will complement existing efforts to bridge the digital divide to help the poor connect to the Internet.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 12, 2016, with the headline 'Boosting home-grown tech professionals and Wi-Fi speeds'. Print Edition | Subscribe