Singapore Continues Infocomm Push

SINGAPORE (04/06/2000) - The Singapore government is offering incentives worth S$150 million (US$87.5 million) to stimulate demand for and supply of interactive broadband multimedia (IBBMM) services, according to Yeo Cheow Tong, minister for communications and information technology.

In a keynote address at Comdex Asia here yesterday. Yeo said that the government had identified three key strategies to develop Singapore into a dynamic and vibrant information and communications (infocomm) capital by 2010.

The first initiative to be managed by the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA), to fully liberalize the telecommunications industry, was achieved on April 1.

The next two IDA programs, to develop and attract infocomm manpower and talent, and to "dot-com the people sector," giving all citizens Internet access and making them comfortable with the Web, will now be implemented to develop Singapore as a leading infocomm hub in Asia-Pacific, Yeo said.

On multimedia demand, the government will offset infrastructure costs for broadband access to homes and offices, with the aim of doubling the number of users of the SingaporeONE broadband network to 200,000 by the end of this year.

On the supply side, the IBBMM Content Hosting Scheme will be set up to attract content providers to host their content in Singapore or use Singapore-based telecommunications services for aggregating and forwarding their content. IDA will also encourage the development of new media services, such as wireless Internet and interactive TV, Yeo said.

To build new capabilities needed for the Internet economy, IDA will continue to tap the Innovation Development Scheme (IDS), a local industry support scheme, to encourage development of innovative products and services in the key infocomm growth areas.

Those areas are e-commerce application software, e-commerce services, broadband applications, content hosting and development, mobile and wireless communications, mobile Internet services, and embedded software in information appliances and smart devices.

Singapore's current infocomm sector was worth S$20 billion in 1998, or around 6 percent of the country's gross domestic product, Yeo said. The goal is to double the size of the industry by 2005, with exports making up 70 percent of total sales compared to 50 percent today.

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