Singapore to bridge digital divide

Singapore, 1 March 2000  (Asia Pulse) - Singapore will spent S$25million (US$14.43 million) over the next three years to extend the dot.

Singapore, 1 March 2000  (Asia Pulse) - Singapore will spent S$25 million (US$14.43 million) over the next three years to extend the dot.com revolution to the wider community.

"We want all Singaporeans to reap the full benefits of infocomm in their daily lives," Yeo Cheow Tong, Minister for Communications and Information Technology, said today. He was launching eCelebrations Singapore with the official opening of its anchor event, eFestival Asia, alongside Internet World Asia, InfoSecurity Asia and Scan-Tech Asia.

Singapore wanted to bridge the "digital divide", the gap between those who are Internet savvy and those who are not. "This is why our efforts to promote the use of PCs and the Internet have always focused on the need for ubiquitous adoption that PCs and the Internet are made easily accessible and affordable to all Singaporeans, and not just a small privileged group," the minister said.

"Broadly, there are three potential digital fault-lines between Singaporeans that we must guard against -- income, language and mindsets. "The digital divide can occur between the high and low-income households, the English-educated versus those who are not, as well as the early adopters who are more receptive to new technology against the late adopters."

The Singapore government would spend S$25 million over the next three years bridging the digital fault-lines of income, language and mindsets. Five key population segments had been targeted -- senior citizens, homemakers, workers, and special interest groups.

The first group to benefit would be 30,000 low-income households, with combined monthly incomes not exceeding $SG2,000. A used PC bundled with free Internet access and basic training would be offered to each of these homes. Free broadband access would also be made available at community centres and clubs.

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