Random Musing Technology

Wireless for Everyone

On the trip in Cambodia, Boon Leong related to me a story about Michael Yap making a comment to the press along the line “the government should give email to everyone in Singapore”. We were impressed that Minister Dr. Lee actually took time to respond to him (along the line, we don’t need to give email to all). Michael Yap, is afterall, former CEO of National Computer Board (precursor to IDA) and the driver behind SingaporeOne that bought broadband to Singapore way back in the days we still using dialup in late 90s.

But I was particular puzzled why Michael, a visionary, would say something as boring as “email for everyone”. So while lunching with him yesterday, I took the opportunity to ask him what happened?

Apparently, he was asked what Singapore government could do to help spur ICT usage in Singapore. He replied with a fantastic idea: The government should pay and provide a basic wireless access for everyone, say 100mb share among all. Good enough for simple messaging or for emergency but if you want more, then you would pay for it. The wireless technology today is capable to do it: A single wimax base station could cover the central Singapore and it wont cost too much to set it up or to operate.1

Think about it…It would put Singapore to be one of the highest wireless pentration in the world almost immediately, not to mention the other business opportunities that may arise once everyone get used to this technology. All this for a cost of one (or two) wimax base station.

So where does the “email for everyone “comes in? Apparently, Michael was trying to explain the wireless idea to the reporter and he draw the analogy to the early days of email where email is free for everyone. Somehow the reporter reported the email analogy and not the wireless idea … O_O

1 There are considerations like how this would compete with the upcoming wimax operators, etc but I am sure a win-win proposation can be found if there is will.

ps: In case you wonder, I dont blog about private conversations unless I got permission. And yes, Michael gave me his permission to blog this :-)

Back To Top