Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan, Singapore's minister for community development, youth and sports, and second minister of information, communication and the arts, spoke today at the American Chamber of Commerce Luncheon in Singapore. Dr. Balakrishnan said the key ingredients to Singapore's success were: "A disciplined, hardworking and innovative population working within an honest, fair, open, meritocratic and competitive system with top-notch, first-class infrastructure."
Balakrishnan went on to outline Singapore's "ICT landscape" citing a first rank in Accenture's e-Government 2007 study and in the World Economic Forum's Global IT Report in the area of Government Usage and Government Readiness.
"Singapore's infocomm industry revenue grew by 20 percent in 2006," said Balakrishnan, "to reach a total of ... approximately US$30 billion. In the same year, our infocomm manpower increased by 7.5 percent from 110,000 to approximately 120,000."
Among items cited by Balakrishnan were:
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- Within the span of one year, broadband prices have fallen by as much as 37 percent while access speeds have steadily climbed up to 100 Mbps.
- Mobile phone penetration rates have reached 108 percent, or in other words, more than one mobile phone per user. 3G subscriptions hit above 1 million in April 2007, and 88 percent of households with school-going children currently own computers with access to the Internet.
- Singapore's 10-year ICT masterplan "Intelligent Nation 2015" or "iN twenty-fifteen" was launched in June last year to transform Singapore into "An Intelligent Nation and a Global City powered by Infocomm." iN2015 programs will shape Singapore, said Balakrishnan, through the key themes of innovation, integration and internationalization and the plan is to double the amount of value-added to the local infocomm industry to ... US$17 billion, triple the amount of local infocomm export revenue to ... US$40 billion, create 80,000 new jobs, achieve a household broadband penetration rate of 90 percent and ensure that every household with school-going children will own a computer with connections to the Internet.
- Singapore launched the Wireless@SG program in December last year and now about 430,000 active users in Singapore enjoy free wireless broadband at more than 3,400 hotspots spread out across the island. "We are on track to increase the number of hotspots to over 5,000 by September 2007," said Balakrishnan.
- The Next Generation National Broadband Network, also known as NGNBN, is targeted to reach 95 percent of all homes, businesses, schools, hospitals and community organizations by 2012 with speeds of up to 1 Gigabit per second. This network will be capable of supporting bandwidth-intensive applications decades into the future.
- Singapore established a National Trust Framework and a National Cyberthreat Monitoring Centre which are part of the Infocomm Security Masterplan. "We believe our reputation for security and reliability will be a competitive edge for us," said Balakrishnan.