Singapore is to get 4,000 new free Wi-Fi hot spots by next April in communal spaces such as polyclinics and hawker centres.
It will bring the total number of free Wireless@SG access points to 14,000. Selected voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs), such as seniors’ activity centres and family service centres, will get them for the first time.
It is part of a larger push by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) to increase the total number of Wireless@SG hot spots to 20,000 by 2018.
There are currently about 10,000 Wireless@SG hot spots in places such as community centres, train stations, shopping centres and libraries.
According to tender documents uploaded onto government procurement website GeBiz, the additional hot spots will first be installed in 18 polyclinics, more than 80 hawker centres, and 100 seniors’ activity centres and family service centres.
IMDA chief executive Gabriel Lim said public use of Wireless@SG has increased sixfold since 2014, when a new login method using SIM cards made it easier for users to access the hot spots.
“Our team is currently gathering more feedback and ideas from the public, including holding focus group sessions, to help us improve Wireless@SG for all,” he said.
The agency is also working to boost Internet performance at public libraries, community centres and public hospitals that already have Wireless@SG hot spots.
It will add more hot spots and upgrade existing ones so that users can enjoy wider coverage and faster surfing speeds. This is to address a common bugbear of surfing slowdowns when the network gets congested. The expansion and upgrading works are expected to start next month.
The IMDA said that about two million unique users a month log in to Wireless@SG services.
They clocked an average of 11 million hours a month, as of September this year.
Since April, surfing speeds have been progressively upgraded from 2Mbps to 5Mbps – slightly faster than 3G speeds, but falling short of 4G surfing speeds that range from 16.7Mbps to 18.6Mbps.