MCI response to PQ on support for seniors to obtain digital access
Parliament Sitting on 4 September 2020
QUESTION FOR WRITTEN ANSWER
38. Mr Saktiandi Supaat: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information (a) whether senior citizens from low-income households qualify for subsidies to access broadband services in their homes under the Digital Access Programme; and (b) whether the cost of installing a broadband point in their homes can be subsidised under the programme.
The Government is committed to building an inclusive digital society, where all Singaporeans, including our seniors, are empowered with digital skills and have the means to access digital platforms.
Under IMDA’s Home Access (HA) programme, eligible low-income households, including those with senior citizens, can enjoy 2 years of subsidised home broadband services, and the option to own one subsidised device per household. The fees for broadband installation, as well as fees for installing the first termination point, are waived for beneficiaries. The Home Access programme has benefitted many seniors, with 75% of current beneficiaries comprising households with seniors aged 60 and above. In this year alone, nearly 4,000 seniors have benefitted from the Home Access scheme.
IMDA also recently introduced subsidies for low-income seniors to obtain personal smartphones and mobile plans under the Mobile Access for Seniors (MAS) scheme. The scheme supports low-income seniors with on-the-go connectivity, and complements the SG Digital Office’s efforts to raise the digital skills of seniors. 800 seniors have benefited from this scheme since its launch in July.
Our efforts at ensuring digital inclusion of seniors have been well-received. To-date, 16,000 seniors have taken part in the SG Digital Office’s digital skilling initiatives. Many of the seniors, some of whom I recently met at Teck Ghee Community Centre, are eager to learn and possess a can-do spirit. With the support of our corporate and community partners, Digital Ambassadors and volunteers, we will continue our efforts to ensure that seniors are not left behind in Singapore’s digitalisation journey.