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Government seeks to bring 'essential' broadband to all

PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 February, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 05 February, 2007, 12:00am

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Broadband connectivity had become essential to Hong Kong's future but many small firms were slow in adopting information technology, government chief information officer Howard Dickson told a meeting of the ICT Industry Partnership Forum (IIPF) on Monday.


Hong Kong had a high level of internet connectivity, Mr Dickson said.


'Surveys conducted by the Census and Statistics Department last year revealed that internet connections were very common in Hong Kong - about 72 per cent of domestic households had PCs at home, and about 94 per cent of these PCs were connected to the internet,' he said. 'Broadband connectivity has become a necessity for business, home and leisure nowadays rather than a luxury.'


Mr Dickson predicted that broadband connectivity would bring new opportunities, increased productivity and also enhance Hong Kong's quality of life.


'We have therefore set out in our new Digital 21 Strategy - the vision to make broadband internet access available to all citizens in Hong Kong, regardless of whether they are at home or on the move using mobile facilities.


'We have also set a goal in our D21 Strategy of making internet as a utility service affordable by and available to every Hong Kong citizen.'


Mr Dickson noted that small and medium enterprises amounted to a significant portion of the companies in Hong Kong.


'However, IT adoption by SMEs is much lower than in large enterprises. According to Census and Statistics Department figures, 99 per cent of the large enterprises were using PCs, whereas the corresponding percentages for the medium and small enterprises were 86 per cent and 56 per cent respectively.


He said the same disparity was also observed in respect of internet connections.


'[Last year], 95 per cent of the large enterprises had Internet connections, whereas the corresponding percentages for the medium and small enterprises were 81 per cent and 52 per cent, respectively.


Mr Dickson said these figures reflected that information technology adoption and internet usage for SMEs were relatively low.


'And this phenomenon is usually attributed to the reason that not enough affordable industry software solutions are available to the SMEs,' he added.