MCI Response to PQ on Increasing Low income Families Take up of Internet Access Scheme
Parliament Sitting on 10 January 2023
QUESTION FOR WRITTEN ANSWER
45. Dr Tan Wu Meng: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information for each year in 2021 and 2022 (a) how many Home Access 3.0 applicants are required by the Internet Service Provider to put up a cash deposit as a precondition of service provision; (b) what is the range of amounts for these cash deposits; and (c) what measures are available to help low-income families who find a cash deposit requirement an obstacle to taking up the scheme.
The Home Access 3.0 programme provides eligible low-income households with affordable home internet connectivity through a 2-year subsidised fibre broadband subscription. The assistance packages include options for a 500 Mbps broadband plan and 1 Gbps broadband plan provided by M1 and MyRepublic respectively. Over 92% of beneficiaries are on the 500 Mbps plan, which can support a typical household’s digital needs such as internet surfing, video calls, and video streaming.
A security deposit is not required for M1’s 500 Mbps plan, while MyRepublic’s 1 Gbps plan requires a refundable security deposit of $250 from some beneficiaries based on the company’s assessment of the customer’s profile. This deposit will be refunded if there are no arrears, and the contract is not prematurely terminated. Of the 19,500 beneficiaries on the Home Access 3.0 programme, about 2% had to pay the security deposit.
Alternatively, applicants may opt for M1’s 500 Mbps plan which does not require a security deposit.
The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) reviews its schemes regularly and works closely with telcos to ensure that needy households can be supported in obtaining digital access.