Forward-looking infrastructure: digital infrastructure for the future

  • Date: 2017-05-05

I. Background

The digital infrastructure component of the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program was formulated based on the Digital Nation and Innovative Economic Development Plan approved by the Executive Yuan in November 2016. Rather than focusing on broadband hardware infrastructure alone as in the past, the digital infrastructure plan for the first time covers “soft” digital infrastructure such as smart city lifestyle applications, open government cloud services, smart learning school campuses, high-definition digital content, and a public services internet of things (IoT).

The digital infrastructure plan will have a special budget of NT$46.1 billion (US$1.5 billion) for 2017-2021, plus regular annual science and technology budgets, for a total of NT$73.3 billion (US$2.4 billion). These funds will be combined with private sector investments of NT$200 billion (US$6.6 billion) in broadband infrastructure and NT$38.1 billion (US$1.3 billion) in research and development of content and services. The plan consists of 19 projects to build five types of digital infrastructure described below.

 

II. Five types of digital infrastructure

A. Broadband infrastructure and online security: Promoting cybersecurity infrastructure, providing online security services

For this type of infrastructure, the objective is to strengthen Taiwan’s information and cybersecurity environment while protecting the nation and its citizens. This will be achieved by enhancing the cybersecurity of government agencies to keep the nation safe, and increasing broadband speed from 100 megabits per second (Mbps) to 1 gigabit per second.

♦ Examples: Replace expired (high-risk) information equipment at government agencies, strengthen all cybersecurity defenses at lower-level government agencies, and build comprehensive national cybersecurity infrastructure. Introduce green information and communications technology, build or use green energy cloud data centers that are eco-friendly, and enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of data center operations and management. Shore up backup capabilities and disaster resilience for telecommunication cables and mobile communication towers.

B. Broadband infrastructure: Promoting digital inclusivity, ensuring broadband as a human right

The objective of broadband infrastructure is to ensure that disadvantaged groups have access to basic broadband and cloud resources. These projects will build broadband infrastructure in rural areas, set up digital innovation training centers for the public, and provide all citizens with equal opportunity in digital and innovative development.

♦ Examples: Raise internet connection speeds to 100 Mbps at 405 rural public health offices and mobile clinics across Taiwan, which will improve health care quality and pave the way for long-term care in Taiwan. Help businesses go digital by establishing a digital innovation training base and smart e-commerce platform for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. Make broadband computers, tablets and other communication equipment available on loan at all public libraries, digital opportunity centers, and classrooms for immigrants.

C. Content infrastructure: Developing the digital cultural creativity industry, making high-definition services more widely available

The goal of content infrastructure is to turn the digital cultural creativity sector into another trillion-dollar industry in Taiwan. These projects will establish a national cultural memory bank, create spectacular 4K ultra-high-definition content, and allow the public to enjoy a wide range of new media and multi-screen convergence services.

♦ Examples: Strengthen high-definition technologies for film and television, with public media companies taking the lead in creating an ultra-high-definition content production environment (including film studios and post-production systems). Encourage film and television companies to align with international standards and produce movies and programs with quality content as well as quality technology.

Develop cross-platform production methods that support the special characteristics of new media broadcasting. Promote multiple uses from a single content source to break the “one industry, one platform” way of thinking. Encourage interdisciplinary cooperation among literature, comics, animation, film and television, allowing culture to penetrate and communicate through all forms of media.

D. Service infrastructure: Creating open government, providing smart urban and rural services

Service infrastructure aims to improve citizens’ quality of life by making smart services available everywhere. Central and local authorities will work together to develop smart urban and rural services, build a service-oriented government, and usher Taiwan into “Society 4.0,” the digital era society.

♦ Examples: To mitigate damage from natural disasters, use artificial intelligence (AI) and IoT to set up interconnected information systems for air quality detection, earthquake monitoring and rapid reporting, disaster prevention and response, and water management. To improve the quality of life, create smart systems supporting transportation, health care and tourism services, and encourage industries to develop added-value services. Set up a science park for motion-sensing technology using augmented and virtual reality, and help industries build related infrastructure.

E. Personnel infrastructure: Building a next-generation environment for research and smart learning

The objective of personnel infrastructure is to create an innovative digital learning environment for citizens to enjoy. The government will promote fiber optic broadband and smart learning technologies on school campuses, create an innovative education environment, and develop home-grown AI high-speed computing platforms and scientific research instruments to help business, academic and research communities in developing forward-looking fields of technology.

♦ Examples: Install intelligent networks on school campuses, upgrade all digital software and hardware environment in schools, and install high-speed broadband equipment. Set up cloud services and big data computation platforms, and help Taiwan’s industries make inroads in the AI industrial chain. Establish bases in the science parks for smart robot innovators and makers, and set up related software and hardware facilities.

 

III. Conclusion

With the rapid advance and widespread use of digital technology, Taiwan’s government is promoting the digital infrastructure plan to allow everyone—regardless of education, economic status, location or personal background—to enjoy a diverse array of quality digital services that are economical, convenient and secure. To ensure the successful implementation of these projects, the government will set up the necessary infrastructure budget, review outdated laws, and draft or amend regulations to create a friendly regulatory environment.