1 The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) is introducing a new DigitalAccess@Home scheme to provide subsidised broadband and digital devices (laptop or tablet) to low-income Singaporean households to strengthen digital inclusion. About $80million has been set aside over the next four years to fund this new scheme, which will replace the existing NEU PC Plus and Home Access schemes. The scheme will be able to support 60,000 households.
2 DigitalAccess@Home will come into effect from 3 April 2023. Eligible households can apply for the scheme through a simplified application process and enjoy the flexibility to choose their device and broadband connectivity based on their current needs.
3 The new scheme arose out of IMDA’s regular review on how low-income households can be better supported to receive affordable digital access conveniently. The new scheme has also taken onboard ideas and suggestions from a Forward Singapore (ForwardSG) conversation hosted by Minister for Communications and Information Mrs Josephine Teo on 3 Feb 2023.
4 Complementing DigitalAccess@Home, partners from the people and private sectors have come forward to also join the Government to help low-income families not just own digital devices and enjoy broadband access at home, but to pick up digital skills too. Collectively, these efforts support the national Digital for Life (DfL) movement, which helps Singaporeans embrace digitalisation as a lifelong pursuit and enrich their lives.
Key Features of DigitalAccess@Home
5 The new scheme has the following key features:
a. Enhanced flexibility to choose product offerings with expanded product choices:
- Eligible households will enjoy more flexible and expanded device (laptop or tablet) and broadband connectivity options. Instead of the standard packages, eligible households can now choose the offerings which best suit their needs (e.g. broadband-only, device-only, combination of broadband and device). They can also choose from different broadband speeds as well as laptop and tablet models.
- Eligible households living in 1 to 3-room flats will pay $10 per month for broadband subscription, while those in 4-room or larger flats will pay $15 monthly. For another $5 monthly, they can double their bandwidth from 500 Mbps to 1 Gbps.
- Existing recipients of selected government assistance schemes, such as the Housing & Development Board’s (HDB) Public Rental Scheme and the Ministry of Social and Family Development’s (MSF) ComCare Assistance will pay $5 per month for 500Mbps broadband subscription. Households with students on the Ministry of Education’s Financial Assistance Schemes (MOE FAS) may also enjoy the highest level of subsidy depending on income.
- If a beneficiary chooses a broadband-only or device-only option as a start, they have the option of adding on a device or broadband to the assistance package that they have chosen, at any point in time.
b. Simplified and streamlined application for greater convenience and faster approval:
- IMDA is also exploring collaborations with other government agencies to eliminate the need for a separate application for DigitalAccess@Home. For a start, IMDA is working with MSF to automatically refer ComCare beneficiaries for DigitalAccess@Home by having them opt for the scheme as part of applying for ComCare.
- Other applicants may apply via the online system or through hardcopy submissions. They can also approach any of the 37 SG Digital community hubs, and self-help groups (e.g. Chinese Development Assistance Council [CDAC], MENDAKI, Singapore Indian Development Association [SINDA], Eurasian Association) for assistance with their applications. The application process will be simplified and applicants will no longer be required to submit supporting documents such as copies of NRIC and income documents.1
Importance of People-Private-Public (3Ps) Partnership
6 At a ForwardSG conversation on 3 Feb 2023 hosted by Minister Teo, more than 20 partner organisations, including Social Service Agencies and self-help groups, discussed how to strengthen Singapore’s digital social compact. The conversations highlighted how the 3P partnership is crucial to the DfL movement to meet different needs with training and providing devices to low-income families.
7 Complementing the DigitalAccess@Home scheme, partners from the people and private sectors have also come forward to bolster the Government’s support for low-income families.
- Engineering Good and SGBono will provide up to 1,000 refurbished laptops per year to support DigitalAccess@Home beneficiaries with larger families who may require additional laptops. Based on the demand seen from existing schemes, these 1,000 refurbished laptops should be sufficient to meet their needs.
8 Besides the provision of digital access, DfL partners will provide up to 2,200 new training places to suit the needs of low-income families over the course of the year. For example, Microsoft will offer classes for children from low-income families, on a range of tech topics such as Internet of Things and mixed reality.
The Digital for Life Movement Calls for More Ground-up Projects
9 Under the DfL movement, individuals and corporates are encouraged to support the less digitally savvy in their midst. As of November 2022, the DfL Fund has raised about $10.25million, comprising donations and dollar-for-dollar matching grant by the Government. The movement is seeking more individuals and organisations who are keen to tap on the Fund to drive digital inclusion projects and activities that will enable all Singaporeans to embrace digital and enrich lives. For more information, please visit www.digitalforlife.gov.sg.
 The DigitalAccess@Home system has been integrated with other government systems backend, which allows IMDA to automate and streamline the application process.
Annex A-1: Eligibility Criteria for DigitalAccess@Home
Annex A-2: Co-Payment Amounts By Eligible Households