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Singapore Builds Digital Future Infrastructure, Research and Innovation

A longstanding objective of the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) is to ensure that Singapore maintains a solid foundation that enables its citizens and businesses to embrace opportunities created by digital advancements.

As technology and digitalisation requirements grow, the nation is strengthening the digital infrastructure that enables digital services and apps, as well as constructing a robust research and innovation ecosystem to continuously reveal the value of emerging technologies.

With this, MCI is producing a Digital Connectivity Blueprint to outline the way forward for Singapore’s connectivity infrastructure. This comprises domestic broadband, mobile, and WiFi networks, as well as international undersea cables.

The Blueprint will also uncover synergies with other digital infrastructure components, such as data centres and digital utilities, that complement this connectivity layer. The Blueprint will be released later this year. The blueprint will be based on a future-oriented strategy that is consistent with how the government and different industry partners have tackled digital infrastructure expenditures over the years.

The mid-2000s investment in the statewide fibre broadband network, for instance, offers services such as online collaboration, e-learning, and High-Definition entertainment. Recently, Singapore’s 5G standalone networks have begun to produce early fruit in the shape of use cases in industries like manufacturing.

Additionally, the MCI has established an Advisory Panel on Digital Infrastructure, comprised of corporate and industry professionals, to support and advise on the Digital Connectivity Blueprint. Dr Janil Puthucheary, Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information, and Mr Irving Tan, Executive Vice President of Global Operations of Western Digital, will co-chair the Panel.

MCI will seek the panel’s insight on the following topics: a) Plans to develop Singapore’s digital infrastructure, including from the perspectives of business and technical viability and international competitiveness; and b) Global and domestic trends and developments that could affect future business and consumer demand for digital infrastructure, and therefore could factor into plans for infrastructure and use case development.

Research, Innovation, and Enterprise (RIE) continues to be a cornerstone of Singapore’s transformation towards a knowledge-based, innovation-driven economy and society. The RIE 2025 strategy builds on the success of earlier RIE investments, as science and technology (S&T) remain essential to Singapore’s capacity to solve national requirements, prepare for future problems, and create new growth possibilities.

Under the RIE 2025 plan, the Smart Nation and Digital Economy (SNDE) domain aims to foster technology leadership to fuel the Smart Nation aspiration and establish Singapore as a trusted digital innovation hub.

For example, Singapore has internationally recognised research strengths in Artificial Intelligence (AI). Using SciVal publishing data, Singapore is ranked among the top 10 in the world for AI Natural Language Processing and Computer Vision publications (2012-2021).

AI Singapore’s AI Speech Lab has made important advancements, such as being able to comprehend Singapore’s spoken vernacular languages in noisy environments with greater accuracy. The research conclusions have been implemented in the hotline call centre of the Singapore Civil Defence Force and the telephone services of the Ministry of Social and Family Development.

Among the forthcoming and recent activities to improve local capacities and form new collaborations are the following:

  • In the next months, the Smart Nation and Digital Government Office (SNDGO) and National Research Foundation (NRF) will issue calls for AI Investigatorships;
  • AI Singapore administers the Open Theme Technology Challenge to encourage the use of AI to meet economic or societal issues;
  • The Future Communications Connectivity Lab (FCCLab) was inaugurated in September 2022 at the Singapore University of Technology and Design;
  • Businesses are encouraged to create innovative solutions to specific problems, such as those in cybersecurity;
  • Globally, Singapore and South Korea signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on AI in December 2022, encouraging bilateral AI research and information exchange, as well as the sharing of experiences in promoting the responsible use of AI.


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