Friday, January 05, 2007

Beyond wireless broadband

Thoughts for Singapore wireless@SG

Just after I graduated many years ago, I have an interview in NUS (National University of Singapore). There is a question from the interviewer, the professor ask me, "Malaysia have any vision plan?" (or something like that).

I don't know what he really means at that time, so the professor explain to me, like for Singapore, they have an IT2000 initiative (intelligent island). I think I was not able to answer the question well at that time, and I didn't get the job. Later I realized that the professor may refering to 'wawasan 2020'. (I think the MSC idea is not there yet)

Internet seems to be a hit in 90s, especially when US president Bill Clinton and Al Gore propose 'Information Highway' idea, all other country have a similar plan but with a different name, like Singapore's intelligent island, India's Technology Park, Hong Kong's cyber port and Malaysia's Multimedia Super Corridor. The idea is to have broadband network connection.

After year 2000, extend one step further than broadband network, with the wireless broadband. Recently Taipei city just win an awards for its WIFLY network. Singapore announces to have wireless connection coverage throughout the island, and it is free for the first two years (now extended to 3 years).

I read a article about WIFLY in Taipei, even they have 90 percent coverage in Taipei city, but not many users (40,000 out of 2.6 millions) willing to pay for the services. Definitely there is a reason behind it.

I think Singapore government is doing a good job, given it free for the first few years. They have spend million of dollars on implementing the wireless system, Wireless@SG. I hope they can do better, and all other country can do it better.

If you are familiar with personal computer history, you should know Lotus-123 is the killer application on IBM PC. Many users buy IBM PC not because they are IBM product or it is affordable, they buy PC just because they can use Lotus-123 on it. I hope all these governments who promote wireless broadband don't forget, a killer application needs to be there as the key to the success, be it a software application or web services.

New York Times, What if They Built an Urban Wireless Network and Hardly Anyone Used It?
台北無線網路新都,果真世界第一? Free access to Wireless@SG network
Todayonline, Singapore, one giant hotspot
More Wi-Fi hotspots become free in Singapore

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