SINGAPORE - Monies collected from fines such as the record $1.5 million imposed on M1 for its mobile outage in January last year will soon be channelled to helping low-income families access the Internet.
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Here is an excerpt from the speech Dr Yaacob Ibrahim made today at the 2014 MCI Workplan Seminar regarding the Digital Inclusion Fund:
I am happy to announce that we will be setting up the Digital Inclusion (DI) Fund to raise the adoption of infocomm for low-income households, and encourage social innovations to help voluntary welfare organisations (VWO) better manage the well-being of their beneficiaries with relevant technology.
For individuals and households, the DI Fund will help them level up and enjoy the benefits that come with advancements in digital technology as Singapore prepares to wire up as a Smart Nation. Targeted households will also be able to benefit from home Internet access to surf for information and perform digital voice calls. This is an example of how the DI Fund may be used.
In the first instance, the DI Fund will be set up using the monies collected from telecom licensees since 2011. This is a meaningful way to make use of the amount collected and the government will top up this fund if necessary.
I am also happy to announce that IDA has enhanced the Neu PC Plus Programme. The Neu PC Plus Programme 2.0 will complement the DI Fund, making it easier for school-going children on financial assistance and persons with disabilities to qualify for a personal computer, and have access to higher broadband speed. More individuals and families will be able to benefit from this programme from June 2014. Some enhancements include the raised qualifying income cap and simplified application process for students who are recipients of the Ministry of Education's (MOE) Financial Assistance Scheme.