Government working to ensure everyone is connected even in isolation
Subsidised Internet access for students among initiatives being rolled out
Free cable television channels, better network quality and subsidised Internet access for students who need it - these are some of the initiatives being rolled out to get everyone to stay at home during this period.
Speaking to the media at a virtual doorstop yesterday, Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran said the Government has embarked on several initiatives for businesses and individuals to help everyone stay connected even as they are physically isolated.
"We want to make sure that while people are staying at home and complying with the circuit breaker measures, they are also able to have connectivity, they are able to have content and they are also able to remain productive and entertained in the way they go about their lives," he said.
The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) has worked with Mediacorp and pay-TV operators Singtel and StarHub to bring more free content to the public.
Singtel will increase its number of free preview channels to 30, while StarHub now gives free access to 32 channels.
Mediacorp's Suria and Vasantham channels will also start from 9am daily, instead of its usual time of 3pm.
The minister added that there has been an increase in broadband usage, but there is at least a 30 per cent buffer on peak loads.
To be prepared for a further increase, the IMDA is working with the telcos to enhance this buffer in the coming weeks.
Mr Iswaran added that on the access front, students who need financial assistance to get Internet and computers are already being aided.
"We want to make sure that as far as possible, no child is left without the kind of digital access that he or she needs to do home-based learning," he said.
"What IMDA has done is also to simplify the whole application process... being a lot faster to meet the needs (of students)."
Responding to questions from the media, Mr Iswaran said IMDA is aiming to get WiFi and MiFi infrastructure installed at all foreign worker dormitories in the next two weeks.
Many foreign workers in dormitories now have no work, limited ways to contact their family, and are in isolation.
Despite this, some have reached out to Mr Iswaran offering to help in any way they can.
"They asked if there was any way they could help us in terms of our efforts at the national level and if they could contribute in any way," he said.
"I thought that was a very touching and selfless offer on their part. (But) given the kind of restrictions we are imposing on movements, the best way they could serve our national efforts (is) to ensure that the dorms and all the workers in the dorms are cooperating and complying with the measures we have put in place."