MCI response to PQ on Students' Low cost Access to High speed Internet outside of School
Parliament Sitting on 3 November 2021
QUESTION FOR ORAL ANSWER
9. Mr Shawn Huang Wei Zhong: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information what are the Ministry’s plans to ensure that all students have easy and low cost access to high speed internet outside of school.
Mr Speaker, the Government is committed to equipping all Singaporeans, including students, with a baseline of affordable digital access.
Almost all households with school-going children1 have access to broadband. Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA)’s NEU PC Plus and Home Access programmes provide a subsidised device and broadband connectivity to low-income households, including those with school-going children. From January 2020 to September 2021, over 20,000 low-income households with school-going children have benefitted through the NEU PC Plus programme.
IMDA’s digital access programmes are complemented by MOE’s provisions for students to access the internet to support Home-Based Learning. During the recent full Home-Based Learning in May 2021, schools loaned out internet-enabling devices to students who lacked internet access at home. Students also had the option to return to school to use computing facilities. Alternatively, students may also tap on Wireless@SG deployed at public spaces, like the Public Libraries and Community Clubs, for free out-of-home internet connectivity.
Citizens’ needs evolve, and the Government reviews our initiatives to ensure citizens from needy households also have access to affordable high speed internet. Most recently in 2020, broadband speed under IMDA’s NEU PC Plus and Home Access programmes were increased from 300Mbps to 500Mbps. This is able to support a typical family for common daily activities such as video calls and video streaming. The Government will continue to review our provisions to meet the digital connectivity needs of students outside school.
1 Definition of full-time school-going children are those studying in primary school, secondary school (GCE ‘O’ Levels / ‘N’ Levels or equivalent), Institute of Technical Education, Junior College (GCE ‘A’ Levels or equivalent) or Polytechnic (Diploma).