OpenNet was the company appointed by IDA to deploy optical fibre to homes, offices and buildings in Singapore, hooking up consumers and businesses to the Next Generation Nationwide Broadband Network (NGNBN) with speeds of up to 1Gbps. The company was acquired in 2013 by SingTel’s business trust NetLink Trust.
The year saw the start of eGov2015 masterplan. Projects under eGov2015 included data.gov.sg, which provided access to government datasets, and OneInbox, a one-stop mailbox service for individuals and businesses to receive electronic correspondences from the Government. In the World Economic Forum Global Information Technology Report 2014, the Singapore Government was commended for its clear digital strategy that offered the best online services in the world.
IDA launched a national system for securing online transactions by giving users a high-tech token device that provided extra protection against cyber criminals when users logged on to confidential online services. Called OneKey, the token was developed by IDA subsidiary Assurity Trusted Solutions, and has been adopted by major brokerages.
All three telcos launched 4G services in tandem with the availability of select 4G phones. With theoretical download speeds of up to 75Mbps at that time, 4G services let consumers download apps and browse the Internet at much faster speeds compared to 3G services.
M1 fired the first salvo in June 2011, when it introduced Singapore’s first LTE mobile broadband service, with initial coverage in the financial district and nationwide coverage scheduled for first quarter of 2012. The service was targeted at business customers. SingTel followed suit in December 2011 with a 4G service for consumers and businesses.
Coverage was also limited to the financial district, plus pockets of coverage in Bukit Panjang, Boon Lay, Bedok and Changi. The service bundled 10GB of LTE data along with 50GB of 3G data for $69.90 a month.
In September 2012, M1 became the first to launch a nationwide 4G service that covered 95 per cent of the island, including outdoor and indoor locations. While SingTel formally launched its 4G service for consumers in June 2012, its service would achieve only 95 per cent coverage by the first quarter of 2013.
StarHub was the last to unveil its 4G service in September 2012, starting with coverage in the financial district, Changi Airport and Singapore Expo. It achieved nationwide coverage by October 2013.
The Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) took effect in phases, starting with the formation of the Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) on Jan 2, 2013.
The law, aimed at preventing the misuse of personal information, will govern how businesses collect, use, protect, correct and provide access to personal data.
Companies in Singapore had at least 18 months to comply with the new law, which included provisions related to data protection and the Do-Not-Call (DNC) registry. The PDPC came into full effect in July 2014.
With the DNC registry, firms and organisations are required to check individuals’ numbers against the registry before sending them telemarketing messages. Individuals can sign up with the registry to opt out of receiving such messages.
Under the law, companies that flouted the data protection and DNC provisions would be fined up to $1 million and $10,000 per offence, respectively. In February 2014, just over a month after the DNC registry kicked in, the PDPC received some 1,500 valid complaints. Later in the year, a tuition agency and its director became the first to be penalised for sending telemarketing messages to Singapore phone numbers listed in the registry.
Tech-savvy Singapore has always been a forerunner in embracing technology, from the latest consumer gadgets to cutting-edge business software delivered over the Internet. In what could be the country’s most ambitious technology blueprint to date, Singapore’s Smart Nation vision promised to take the country’s technology adoption to the next level.
Last November, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong outlined plans to turn Singapore into the world’s first smart nation and how the country can use technology to improve people’s lives. To set things in motion, a new smart nation programme office was set up to coordinate efforts by various government agencies that are already tapping on IT to serve citizens.
These efforts span the gamut, from HDB’s Smart Elderly Monitoring and Alert System to help caregivers watch over the elderly who live alone, to Virtual Singapore, which will help planners and architects design and build the city with greater insight and sensitivity to finer details, based on crowd-sourced data from the public.
In October 2014, the Government announced plans to roll out 1,000 sensors across the island to track everything from air quality and water level. The sensors would support previously announced projects, including surveillance cameras in Little India and Geylang, as well as water level sensors in the Singapore River and drains to monitor flooding.