Singapore eyes free wireless Internet service

Singapore plans to cover most of the island with public wireless Internet access by next year and offer nearly 10,000 subsidized computers to low-income students to offer digital opportunities to all its citizens, an Associated Press report said.


The Associated Press report said the Singaporean government will increase the number of public wireless 'hot spots' from 900 to 5,000 by next year as part of the plan, according to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.


'We must create digital opportunities for all Singaporeans, and never allow a digital divide in our society,' Lee was quoted by the report as saying.


Lee said about 10,000 needy households with school-going children will qualify for subsidized computers, and efforts will be made to help the elderly and disabled use the Internet.


The Straits Times newspaper reported that families that earn less than S$2,000 ($1,259) a month can purchase a computer for S$285 ($179), the report said.


The plan will offer free 512Kbps wireless access for at least two years through telecom operators SingTel, iCell and QMax at public wireless hot spots across the city, said a press release from the government's Infocomm Development Authority.