20 June 2011 - Speech by Ms Grace Fu, Senior Minister-of-State for Information, Communications and the Arts, at the Welcome Ceremony of the 41st Public Meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), at Raffles City Convention Centre, Singapore

Speech by Ms Grace Fu, Senior Minister-of-State for Information, Communications and the Arts, at the Welcome Ceremony of the 41st Public Meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), on 20 June 2011, 9.00am, at Raffles City Convention Centre, Singapore

Mr Peter Dengate Thrush, Chairman of the ICANN Board,

Mr Rod Beckstrom, CEO of ICANN,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

1. It is my pleasure to join all of you here this morning at the 41st ICANN public meeting, and Singapore is honoured to be able to play host to this annual meeting. I would especially like to extend a warm welcome to all overseas delegates and I hope you will have time to explore a bit more of Singapore in your time here.

The Internet is Evolving

2. The rapid evolvement of the Internet has had a great impact on social and economic development worldwide. We are inundated by the sheer amount of information available online, and a good many of us have been caught up in the web of social networking. In this regard, ICANN plays an important role in bringing together the global internet community to build understanding and appreciation of challenges facing the Internet, as well as to facilitate discussions to address these challenges.

Making the Internet More Secure

3. Given the pervasiveness of the Internet in our society and our daily lives, we are understandably concerned with its stability, security and continued usability. One of the ways to ensure the security of the Internet is through the management of the Domain Name System, or DNS. I note that DNS abuse is one of the greatest Internet security vulnerabilities exploited for cybercrime, child pornography, identity theft, spam and phishing. Hence, the effective and secure management of the DNS will serve to prevent inaccuracies or false information as well as any potential cyber-attacks and abuse.

4. In line with ICANN's efforts to preserve the operational stability of the Internet, Singapore has, through the Singapore Network Information Centre, or SGNIC, signed an Exchange of Letters with ICANN in late 2009 to express our commitment to operate and maintain the authoritative name servers for the dot SG domain in a stable and secure manner. I note that IDA and SGNIC have also formed a taskforce, in collaboration with various stakeholders, to look into the protection of our dot SG domain names in cyber space as well as to promote the awareness and adoption of Domain Name System Security Extensions, or DNSSEC, through training and information-sharing seminars.

5. At the international level, to accelerate DNSSEC adoption and provide a secure facility for the hosting of a critical Internet infrastructure, Singapore is also participating in the DNSSEC Signer Platform for Country-Code Top-Level Domain Names. This is a joint initiative by Packet Clearing House (PCH) and ICANN. I am pleased to share that Singapore will host the third global site for the PCH, after San Jose and Zurich, at the premises of the National University of Singapore.

Increasing Internet Capacity - From IPv4 to IPv6

6. With the exponential growth of the Internet, Internet Protocol (IP) addresses are also being consumed at a rapid pace with all available IPv4 addresses expected to be exhausted very soon. ICANN and its stakeholders have been monitoring the issue closely. Singapore, in preparation for this, has developed a multi-pronged approach to holistically address the transition from IPv4 to IPv6.

7. Besides working at the government level to incorporate IPv6 requirements in national projects such as the Next Generation Nationwide Broadband Network, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (or IDA) will be providing seed funding to spur the industry's initial adoption of IPv6 technologies for their Internet-facing services. IDA will also be facilitating technical training to grow the pool of IPv6-competent technical experts to complement the on-going broad-based training programmes for infocomm professionals. IDA is launching a public consultation today to solicit views if there is a need for Internet Access Service Providers to ensure the seamless transition from IPv4 to IPv6 by users. In addition, IDA will also be putting in place controlled measurements to ensure that there is no lag in the performance of IPv6 services as compared to those provided on the current IPv4.

Making the Internet More Inclusive

8. I note that one of inclusiveness is also a key focus of ICANN's initiatives. Many recognise the Internet as a game changer and an important leveler that allows even the less-privileged and those with disabilities to seek equal opportunities available to the general public. In Singapore, while about 82 per cent of households here have linked up to a broadband connection at home, 16 per cent of households still do not have basic computer access at home.

9. To this, IDA has implemented a series of digital inclusion efforts to bridge this digital divide, as part of IDA's Intelligent Nation iN2015 Masterplan to build an infocomm-savvy nation. These initiatives include the Neu PC Plus programme, which gives assistance to students from low-income households, the establishment of the Infocomm Accessibility Centre, where those with disabilities can be empowered with relevant ICT skills to enhance their integration into society, and the Silver Infocomm Initiative, which offers affordable infocomm training and customised curriculum for senior citizens.


10. In closing, I would like to commend ICANN for organising these meetings which serve as important platforms to discuss issues pertaining to the future of the Internet and its sustainability as well as provide opportunities for members to share experiences and perspectives to foster a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities brought forth by the Internet. I wish everyone a fruitful discussion ahead. Thank you.