Parliament Sitting on 5 June 2020


*13. Ms Tin Pei Ling: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information (a) how have national data usage volume and pattern changed since the onset of COVID-19; (b) whether our digital infrastructure is currently adequate; (c) whether there are new plans to enhance our digital infrastructure post-COVID-19; and (d) how will the potential resultant increase in carbon emissions be mitigated.


Mr Deputy Speaker, the volume of data traffic remains within each operator’s network capacity, with a healthy buffer of at least 30%. This is despite the fact that since the onset of COVID-19, our telecom operators have seen an increase in data usage volume due to telecommuting and home-based learning, as updated to this House by Minister S Iswaran last month. Singapore’s digital infrastructure remains adequate for our needs.

2. Given the growing reliance on telecom services, we are also looking into measures to strengthen the security and resilience of our networks, and minimise the risk of outages. Therefore, MCI and IMDA are working with our telecom operators to enhance our telecom infrastructure. This includes further increasing network buffers to keep pace with future demands, and investing early in 5G networks.

3. Today, telecom operators, as part of network and service resilience requirements, must provide adequate redundancy, backups and diversity arrangements within their networks. But outages still occur even with robust measures in place. IMDA takes a very serious view of such network disruptions, and is investigating the causes of the outages by StarHub, M1 and MyRepublic. Where necessary, IMDA will take enforcement action against any operator found liable for causing an outage or failing to restore services quickly.

4. In addition, we are studying alternative means to enhance back-ups in our networks so that consumers can continue to have connectivity during outages; as well as how telecom operators can enhance their capabilities to quickly identify and rectify the causes of disruption. These will be essential to the overall resilience of our digital infrastructure, and the quality of service rendered to customers.

5. We aim to enhance our digital infrastructure in a sustainable manner that takes into consideration the energy and carbon footprint generated. IMDA is working with EDB to ensure that data centre investments in Singapore are energy efficient. The Government remains committed to our goals under the Paris Agreement.