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Wireless@SG is a wireless broadband programme developed by the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) of Singapore as part of its Next Generation National Infocomm Infrastructure initiative, being part of the nation's 10-year masterplan called Intelligent Nation 2015 (iN2015).
The targeted users of this wireless broadband network are broadly classified as "people on the move" - people who require wireless broadband access while away from their homes, schools and offices. These include students, tourists, business travellers and enterprise users such as insurance agents and real estate agents who use widely available and wireless-enabled devices such as notebook PCs and PDAs. Once connected, users will be able to access all Internet-based services e.g. online gaming, web surfing, instant messaging, VoIP and email.
IDA issued a Call-for-Collaboration early 2006 for interested operators to provide such coverage. Late 2006, IDA has accepted the proposals from iCell Network Pte Ltd, QMAX Communications and Singtel, to kick-start the nation's progressive deployment of a widely available wireless network by September 2007.
Following the announcement on October 10, 2006 by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, that Singapore will get to enjoy two years of free wireless broadband connections from January next year, the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) announced on November 30, 2006 that the three Wireless@SG operators have extended this free offering to three years. Users started to enjoy wireless connectivity from December 1, 2006, one month ahead of schedule at selected hotspots.
On 31 May 2007, Network deployment for all Primary Catchment Areas in all Regions was completed with the Secondary Catchment Areas in all Regions was completed on 30 Sep 2007.
The CFC on Wireless Broadband Market Development is scheduled to be completed on 31 Dec 2008. It has two main objectives of:
- Accelerating the deployment of wireless broadband by providing coverage in locations where users out of their homes, schools and offices can conveniently access wireless broadband services using data-centric computing devices.
- Catalysing the demand for wireless broadband services by increasing the number of wireless broadband users.
On 16 June 2009, the government announced an extension of the programme until March 2013 and enhancement of speed up to 1Mbit/s.
In September 2009, M1 acquired local connectivity provider, Qala Singapore, taking over QMax's Wireless@SG service.
Funding from IDA has stopped since April 2013 for the "deployment and operations costs of Wireless@SG" hot spots. It was reported the main newspaper that the number of hotspots had dipped. Some malls will be left without the free WIFI hotspots.
In April 2013, Starhub and Y5Zone were added to the list of Wireless@SG operators, while iCELL was dropped as the company's proposal did not meet IDA's requirements for the next deployment phase of the programme.
Accessing and Registration
To connect to the Wireless@SG wireless broadband network, a user just needs a WiFi-enabled device, such as a laptop computer, PDA or wi-fi enabled mobile phone, and a registered Wireless@SG account. With this registered account, the user is able to roam within any of Wireless@SG's coverage areas, regardless of the operators' network. Available login methods include: SIM-based authentication (EAP-SIM), Seamless and Secure Access (WPA2) and HTTP-based login (Captive portal).
Users are encouraged by the IDA to install and activate a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or other encryption mechanism, Personal firewall; and Anti-virus software with the latest signature files. The IDA also encourages users to avoid ad hoc wireless networking to safeguard their security.
There are various ways users can register for this service:
- Online Registration: Users with access to the Internet can log onto any of the operators’ websites and complete an online registration form. Alternatively, they can click on the ‘New User Sign Up’ link found on the Wireless@SG log-in page when they select the Wireless@SG network at the coverage areas. The account will be activated immediately and a password sent to them via SMS. (See registration links)
- Customer Service Centres: Those without mobile phones or online access can visit any of the operators’ customer service centres to register and collect their passwords. Users can also check with their operator of choice for other registration methods.
- Mobile phone: Visitors to the country can receive free 24 hour Wireless@SG accounts by calling a computer-operated phone number at SingTel. An SMS with a username and password will be sent shortly afterwards.
To access Wireless@SG, users need to be located within the respective Wireless@SG coverage areas. The list of hotspots include shopping centres, libraries, museums, public swimming pools, cafes, restaurants, fast food joints and other public venues. The latest coverage areas can be found at Google Earth and at the IDA portal.
To gain access to the free basic-tier Wi-Fi connection, with connection speeds of up to 512kbit/s, starting 1 December 2006 users could sign up with any of th Wireless@SG network operators. Wireless@SG is available for all Singaporean residents. Users can sign up with any operator to access all the hotspots in Wireless@SG. In addition to the free "basic tier", there will be a paid "premium tier" for those seeking bandwidth beyond 512 kbit/s, or for connectivity options with higher-quality of service. Th operators have different packages to suit different needs and there is no limit on the number of premium accounts users can sign up for.
Access speeds were increased to 1 Mbit/s in 2008, and 2 Mbit/s in 2009.
Wireless@SG Registration Links
- Singapore's M1 acquires Net player Qala | ZDNet
- "Fewer free public Wi-Fi hot spots in Singapore". The Straits Times. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
- Ho, Derrick. "Government drops iCell as Wireless@SG service provider". The Straits Times. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
- Wireless@SG Users Can Look Forward to More Choices with New Wireless@SG Operators on board - About Us - Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore
- How to use Wireless@SG wifi internet in Singapore if you are a traveller
- Singapore to double speed of free public Wi-Fi | ZDNet