MCI's Response to PQs on Usage and Cost of Maintaining Wireless@SG System
Parliament Sitting on 7 November 2023
QUESTION FOR WRITTEN ANSWER
30. Assoc Prof Jamus Jerome Lim: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information (a) for each of the past ten years, what is the usage rate, in terms of unique logins, for Wireless@SG; and (b) what is the share of resident versus non-resident usage for each of those years respectively.
31. Assoc Prof Jamus Jerome Lim: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information (a) what is the cost of maintaining the Wireless@SG system annually; and (b) given advances in mobile data technology and usage, whether there are plans for the eventual phase-out of the system.
Wireless@SG complements Singapore’s fixed and mobile connectivity services. The key difference between Wireless@SG and other Wi-Fi services is that Wireless@SG provides a harmonised platform for the public to seamlessly access free Wi-Fi services across all participating Wireless@SG operators. It is typically deployed at public locations with higher footfall or where people tend to congregate for longer periods (e.g., hawker centres, community centres, libraries, shopping malls) to support our increasing connectivity needs. From 2018 to 2022, there were an average of 1.8 million unique logins per month, 98% of which were by residents.
When the Wireless@SG programme was launched in 2006, IMDA had provided some initial funding support to Wireless@SG operators to defray one-time capital costs and encourage widespread deployment. Today, interested venue owners can contract with any of the four appointed Wireless@SG operators (Singtel, StarHub, M1 and SIMBA). Although IMDA may provide periodic funding to enhance the security and bandwidth of Wireless@SG, the main financial costs are carried by the operators and venue owners who pay for the deployment as well as ongoing maintenance and upgrades of the Wi-Fi hotspots. This arrangement is sustainable and can continue so long as venue owners see value in providing free Wi-Fi services for their customers through the convenient log-in access provided by Wireless@SG operators.