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TPG provides free Internet access to Singapore families affected by Covid-19 crisis

By Ken Wong - on 6 May 2020, 12:13pm

TPG provides free Internet access to Singapore families affected by Covid-19 crisis

As Covid-19 made itself felt in Singapore, the Government issued Work from Home (WFH) and Home-Based Learning (HBL) orders for adults and children for a circuit breaker period to break the chain of local infections.

But doing so has unveiled a digital divide with some households facing issues taking part in HBL programmes due to the lack of laptops and access to the Internet.

TPG Telecom, Singapore’s fourth telco, is stepping up here to provide low-income families with its 50GB Sim-only plans and mobile Wi-Fi (Mi-Fi) routers to get them connected to the Internet to take part in HBL programmes and continue their learning journies.

The telco says it has reached out to over 800 recipients through social enterprises, non-profit organisations and schools like Viva Kids, TOUCH Community Service, Engineering Good, 6th Sense and Stamford Primary School to provide high-speed 4G connectivity.

Richard Tan, Acting CEO and General Manager of TPG Telecom.

Richard Tan, Acting CEO and General Manager of TPG, said, “We are reaching out to ensure that underprivileged students are not left behind in this crisis. We are gratified in being able to work with organisations that are engaged with the underserved communities so that students can continue their studies efficiently.”


What the others are doing

The other telcos in Singapore have also not stood idly by during this Covid-19 period.

While they have rolled out other initiatives to keep us amused during this period, to aid lower-income families to connect online for HBL, a number of them have rolled out community outreach programmes.

On 6 April 2020, a day before Covid-19 circuit breaker measures kicked off, StarHub shared that it is donating its 20th-anniversary marketing budget towards providing instantaneous broadband connectivity for students from lower-income families. The move was to tangibly support these households faced with the Ministry-mandated, full HBL that will take place for school-going students from 8 April to 4 May. 158 primary school and secondary school students from lower-income families will get access this week, with the aim to use the S$200,000 for up to 550 students in total.

Singtel Touching Lives philanthropy programme will channel funds to 18 charities and social enterprises, such as The Courage Fund and various healthcare groups. Foreign workers based in Singapore and healthcare workers can enjoy complimentary remittance services to the seven countries on the Singtel Dash network - Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and the Philippines. Remittance services are also waived for all new users for their first mobile remittance via Dash.

On 14 April 2020, Circles.Life partnered charities like Eton House Community Fund, helping students who lack broadband access for HBL.  Circles.Life supplied SIM cards with three months free Unlimited Data with 4G Rollover to families of these students.

To support parents and students with Home-Based Learning (HBL) under IMDA’s NEU PC Plus (NPP) Programme, M1 is providing a subsidised PC and free fibre broadband to eligible beneficiaries. Under the Home Access Programme, M1 additionally provides subsidised broadband plans to low-income households with school-going children.

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