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Singapore is developing a digital connectivity blueprint to outline the way forward for the country’s connectivity infrastructure.

This includes broadband, mobile, and wi-fi networks, as well as subsea cables that provide international connectivity.

The blueprint will also identify synergies with other digital infrastructure components that complement this connectivity layer, like data centres and digital utilities.

Speaking in Parliament, Singapore’s Minister of Communications and Information, Josephine Teo, said the blueprint would lay out the full scope of Singapore’s long-term infrastructural ambitions and lay the groundwork for the country to “transcend our resource constraints and create economic opportunities for all Singaporeans”.

Minister Teo was responding at the MCI Committee of Supply Debate on Tuesday.

She said Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information, Janil Puthucheary, would co-chair an advisory panel comprising business and industry leaders, to “bring them on board early and make sure our blueprint responds to their needs”.

The other co-chair of the committee would be Irving Tan, the executive vice president of global operations at Western Digital. Wai Meng Wong, Keppel Data Centres CEO and Chairman of IT industry body, SGTech, would be among the other high-profile industry leaders who are members of the committee.

Minister Teo said she expected this phase of work (in developing the blueprint) would take six to nine months.

Minister Janil noted that the panel “brings together industry and business leaders who will help us understand and account for the wide range of perspectives in the evolving digital arena”.

Collectively, the members bring to the table insights on technical and business viability, international competitiveness, as well as potential business and consumer demand, he said and added: “The panel’s deliberations will be guided not just by economic imperatives, but security, resilience, inclusion, and sustainability”.

MCI said the blueprint would be “consistent with how the government and our industry partners have approached digital infrastructure investments over the years”.

5G update

Giving an update on 5G, Minister Janil, said recent measurements by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) show Singapore has achieved 95 per cent nationwide outdoor coverage on the city-state’s first two 5G standalone networks.

“With the rollout progressing well ahead of schedule, our focus is currently on supporting the industry in tapping 5G’s capabilities to enhance their operations and service offerings,” he said.

The minister noted that IMDA has awarded “new and innovative projects” under its 5G Innovation Programme.

One such project that will commence this year involves the Hyundai Motor Group Innovation Centre, the multinational corporation’s first such facility in the world, the minister said.

The project involves deploying over 100 mobile robots across the factory floor, simultaneously transporting materials needed for vehicle manufacturing. 5G technology will enable seamless real-time data transmission between the backend automated control system and the robots.

Minister Janil also mentioned Weston Robot’s electric Unmanned Surface Vessel for autonomous river cleaning which uses 5G to enable video analytics and high data throughput necessary for the vessel to “detect and clean rubbish outside of its pre-programmed path, and to respond to emergency situations such as oncoming boats”.

MCI in its statement said Research, Innovation and Enterprise (RIE) remains a cornerstone of Singapore’s development into a knowledge-based, innovation-driven economy and society.

It noted that the RIE 2025 plan builds on the progress of previous RIE investments, as science and technology (S&T) continues to be key to Singapore’s ability to address national needs, prepare for future challenges, and generate new opportunities for growth.

“Under the RIE 2025 plan, the Smart Nation and Digital Economy (SNDE) domain seeks to develop technology leadership to drive our Smart Nation ambition and anchor Singapore’s position as a trusted digital innovation hub,” MCI said.

In his speech, Minister Janil noted that “building our digital infrastructure and research and innovation capabilities are foundational to a vibrant digital future for Singapore”

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