IMDA leads call for Li-Fi cross-industry trials; parliament passes bill to increase regulatory powers

11 Nov 2016

Singapore’s new telecoms watchdog the Info-Communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) has said it will spearhead joint-industry trials of Light Fidelity (Li-Fi) technology in the city-state, using visible light for data transmission to provide theoretical speeds of up to 100 times those currently afforded by Wi-Fi. Laboratory tests have shown Li-Fi theoretical speeds of over 200Gbps, and IMDA intends to remove regulatory obstacles barring their development in Singapore. Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim announced the initiative yesterday, noting that Li-Fi ‘has the potential to complement existing wireless networks to cater to society’s growing demand for higher Internet connection speeds’.

In a related development, this week Singapore’s parliament passed a new Bill to amend the Telecommunications Act, giving IMDA additional regulatory powers in a bid to drive better telco service provision there. The new Telecommunications (Amendment) Bill allows the watchdog to direct telcos and building owners to resolve their disputes over the installation of telecoms equipment more swiftly and aims to remove the current impasse of building owners being reluctant to provide space to the three local telcos – Singtel, StarHub and M1 – for such installations. Noting the need for greater regulatory oversight, Mr. Ibrahim told the House that the new regulations set out ways in which IMDA can direct building owners to cooperate, including providing rent-free rooftop space for installing telecom equipment.

Singapore, Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA)