S'pore launches world's first WiMax-ready seaport

Ships up to 15km away from the Republic's southern coast enjoy wireless broadband connectivity, under an initiative that seeks to promote ICT use among the port and maritime community.
Written by Sol E. Solomon, Contributor

SINGAPORE--The launch of a WiMax network Thursday now makes it possible for ships operating in Singapore's port to enjoy wireless broadband connectivity up to 15km from the Republic's southern coastline.

Announced in September 2007, WISEPORT or the Wireless-broadband-access for SeaPort project, is the first project to be launched under the Infocomm@SeaPort program, a three-year joint initiative of the MPA and IDA to promote the use of infocomm technologies among the port and maritime community. It will be run by QMax Communications, a broadband infrastructure and technology company.

The WiMax network could help the sector improve operational and business efficiencies and open doors to new business opportunities that were previously hindered by high satellite communication costs, according to a joint statement. With it, activities such as regulatory filings, electronic data exchanges and access to Internet-based applications can be carried out offshore.

IDA CEO Ronnie Tay noted in the statement that WISEPORT makes Singapore the first in the world to have a WiMax-ready seaport. "This builds on IDA's iN2015 masterplan to use infocomm to transform key economic sectors in Singapore, while further strengthening the country's position as a global transshipment hub."

Alex Tan, director of QMax, added that to date, the program has already met half of its target of 500 subscribers within the pilot year. QMax is offering free 512kbps unlimited data access during the first year of the launch.

Four maritime hotspots have been set up at sites where there are intensive maritime activities, with the wireless coverage extending to container terminals, oil terminals and shipyards. Under the project, at least six WiMax base stations will be set up, with each having an estimated range of up to 15km.

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