4G Smart Cities Initiative pays dividends for Taiwan

A government program aimed at fostering the development of smart city applications based on fourth-generation mobile network technology is bearing fruit, with nearly NT$5 billion (US$164.5 million) invested over the past two years on cutting-edge services nationwide, according to the Industrial Development Bureau under the Ministry of Economic Affairs July 26.

The Meet Taiwan�4G Smart City Initiative seeks to boost innovation and sustainable growth by promoting collaboration between the public and private sectors on the implementation of advanced smart city projects. It was launched by the IDB as part of the Mobile Broadband Service and Industry Development Initiative, a comprehensive program unveiled by the Cabinet in 2014 to strengthen the nation's broadband network environment and cultivate innovative services and talent.

Successful projects implemented under the smart city initiative include the installation of free Wi-Fi on the recently launched Taoyuan Metro, a 51-kilometer mass rapid transit line connecting Taipei City, Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport and Zhongli District in the northern city of Taoyuan. The service is the first full coverage free Wi-Fi system on a metro line in Taiwan.

The initiative is also supporting efforts to expand Wi-Fi access on the Taiwan High Speed Rail network, a 350-km north-south line situated along the western coast of the country. Under the Wi-Fi project scheduled for completion in July, THSR passengers will be able to access the internet on all trains using an iTaiwan account.

Unveiled in December 2013 by the Tourism Bureau under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, the iTaiwan free Wi-Fi service boasts more than 10,000 hotspots nationwide and over 4 million registered accounts.

Similarly, Tainan City Government is working with telecommunications companies under the smart city initiative to significantly expand outdoor Wi-Fi access. Tainan has placed 4G Wi-Fi hotspots in some 1,200 traffic light control boxes, providing free internet access at locations across the metropolis, while similar devices are set to be installed on city buses during the second half of this year.

According to the IDB, such efforts to bolster Taiwan's digital infrastructure environment will be sustained and enhanced under the government's Forward-looking Infrastructure Program.

Budgeted at NT$880 billion, the near-decadelong FIP is aimed at stimulating growth and driving Taiwan's industrial transformation over the next 30 years. It spans five main areas: digital infrastructure, railways, renewable energy, urban-rural development and water resources, and is forecast to add NT$975.9 billion to the country's real gross domestic product over eight years while creating up to 50,000 new jobs.

Source: Taiwan Today