Singapore is Asia’s digital capital and gateway to the world’s fastest growing digital economies. Its exceptional digital infrastructure, strong talent base, and robust regulatory landscape have attracted 80 of the world’s top 100 technology firms to its shores1. As a new era of global development unfolds, Singapore’s digital economy is expected to surpass a gross merchandise value (GMV) of $80 billion in 20302.
Budget 2023 – themed ‘Moving forward in a new era’ – acknowledges the immense potential of the digital economy in powering Singapore’s economic growth. It outlines plans on how to enhance the technological expertise of Singaporeans and businesses, enabling them to seize opportunities in a digital world. Boosting digital adoption is key, and to achieve this, measures are in place to help bridge digital access gaps for citizens, and enable businesses to digitalise better, faster, and in a more sustainable manner. This collective effort will ensure Singapore’s digital infrastructure is future-ready, and position its people and businesses for sustained growth in the digital age.
The cornerstone of COS 2023: People and businesses
The Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI)’s Committee of Supply (COS 2023), which follows through from Budget 2023, prioritises the government’s efforts to empower Singaporeans and companies with the tools and skills they need to flourish in a digital future.
The three primary areas of focus are:
- Promoting digital inclusion for low-income households through DigitalAccess@Home
- Supporting a future-ready digital infrastructure with the Digital Connectivity Blueprint
- Helping businesses take advantage of new possibilities in the digital economy via the Digital Enterprise Blueprint
DigitalAccess@Home: The path to a digitally inclusive society
Bridging the digital divide is pivotal to stimulating economic growth and development, and ensuring that all Singaporeans can harness the immense potential of going online. The government’s long-term focus on digital inclusion has led to 92 per cent of households owning a computer, and 98 per cent having access to broadband3. This impressive level of connectivity has resulted in Singapore being ranked first among 120 countries for internet inclusion in 2022, according to Economist Impact’s ‘The Inclusive Internet Index’4.
Eligible households can:
- Opt for enhanced flexibility with expanded product choices DigitalAccess@Home offers beneficiaries the opportunity to choose a package which complements their need – from broadband-only to device-only (laptop or tablet), or a combination of broadband and device options. Monthly rates are greatly subsidised (as low as $15 a month for a 1 Gbps broadband subscription), and depending on their initial pick, the household can add a device or broadband on to the chosen assistance package at any time.
- Enjoy faster approvals through a simplified application processBy securing automatic referrals through collaborations with partnering government agencies and eliminating the need for supporting documentation, IMDA has streamlined the application process for DigitalAccess@Home. Singaporeans may choose to apply online or in-person at any of the 37 SG Digital community hubs.
Digital Connectivity Blueprint: The foundation for Singapore's digital future
Singapore’s Digital Connectivity Blueprint (DCB), which was unveiled on 5th June 2023, is designed to provide both consumers and companies with a competitive edge in the digital arena. It charts the course for Singapore's connectivity infrastructure, including broadband, mobile, and Wi-Fi networks for domestic connectivity, as well as subsea cables for global networking.
To identify potential areas of synergy, the framework explores the benefits of integrating this fundamental layer of connectivity with other digital infrastructure components, such as digital utilities, which act as the cornerstone for individuals to participate in the digital economy. Digital utilities establish a base layer upon which digital tools (such as applications) and digital platforms (such as factories) are constructed, promoting seamless compatibility, while fostering beneficial network effects.
To facilitate advanced Wi-Fi connectivity in Singapore, IMDA is allocating radio frequency spectrum to complement Singapore’s Nationwide Broadband Network and 5G mobile networks. The additional spectrum for Wi-Fi will reduce latency for simultaneous bandwidth-intensive online activities at home such as streaming, as well as facilitate digital innovation, efficiency, and productivity for all.
Digital Enterprise Blueprint: Empowering businesses in a digital world
Even as Singapore intensifies its efforts to build a dynamic digital infrastructure, it also needs to ensure its business community is geared up to take advantage of the opportunities and address the challenges that stem from digitalisation. Scheduled for rollout later this year, the Digital Enterprise Blueprint (136.03KB) is a comprehensive and detailed strategy dedicated to supporting and assisting Singaporean companies in their pursuit of digital transformation, harnessing the power of the digital economy.
With the help of this roadmap:
- Organisations will be better equipped to adapt to fast-paced technological advances and gain a competitive advantage, while safeguarding themselves against evolving digital risks.
- The workforce will be able to develop industry-related skills, empowering them with the necessary know-how to confidently navigate the opportunities of the digital age.
Under the Digital Enterprise Blueprint initiative, a panel of industry leaders, trade associations and companies across various sectors will help develop and scale the adoption of digital utilities at the national level and review the Industry Digital Plans (IDPs) framework at the sectoral level. Together with these sector lead agencies, IMDA will ensure the current 20 IDPs provide companies with relevant guidance and training on digital solutions, while tailoring a new IDP for the legal sector that is due for launch in 2023. At a company level, IMDA will enhance the digital proficiency levels of SMEs through the Advanced Digital Solutions scheme (ADS), which has supported approximately 750 SMEs in adopting 33 advanced and integrated solutions.
As Singapore’s digital economy continues to grow, individuals and businesses must be prepared to unlock the opportunities and challenges that come with it, and to leverage them to their advantage. IMDA’s proactive and forward-looking approach supports and promotes digital adoption among communities and corporations in Singapore – enabling them to benefit from the immense potential of the island’s internet economy – and plays a key role in ensuring the nation’s digital technology infrastructure remains future-ready.
2 Google, Temasek and Bain, e-Conomy SEA 2022
3 Ministry of Communications and Information, February 2023, Speech by Minister Josephine Teo, Minister of Communications and Information, at the Ministry of Communications and Information Committee of Supply Debate
4 Economist Impact, The Inclusive Internet Index 2022