In an effort to bridge the digital divide, the Singapore government has set up a Digital Inclusion (DI) fund to help low-income individuals and households to adopt infocomm technologies.
"The DI Fund will help them level up and enjoy the benefits that come with advancements in digital technology as Singapore prepares to wire up as a smart nation," said Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, the Minister for Communications and Information in Singapore. "Targeted households will also be able to benefit from home Internet access to surf for information and perform digital voice calls," he added.
The DI fund will start out at S$8 million (US$6.33 million), which will come from the government and financial penalties collected from telecom licensees since 2011, said Dr Yaacob. He added that the government will top up the fund if necessary.
Some 6,000 low-income households without school-going children are expected to apply for this fund, which will be available from the second half of this year.
Part of the fund will also be used to encourage social innovations to help voluntary welfare organisations (VWO) better manage the well-being of their beneficiaries with the relevant technology.
Enhanced NEU PC Plus Programme
To cater to the digital needs of low-income households with school-going children and persons with disabilities, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) has enhanced the NEU PC Plus Programme which offers assistance for computer ownership and Internet access.
From June this year, the monthly income cap for the programme will be increased from S$2,700 (US$2,137) to S$3,000 (US$2,374) while per capita income will be raised from S$700 (US$554) to S$800 (US$633).
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.