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EDITIONS
Wednesday, 6 November, 2002, 10:20 GMT
E-government site proves a hit
Singapore skyline
Most people in the city-state own a mobile phone
Most government sites are generally ignored by the public but in Singapore millions regularly turn to the web to get in touch with officials.

The eCitizen Portal is intended to provide a one-stop shop for public services.

The site has proved a big hit, with two out of three people saying they have used the website.

It was recently recognised as the best e-government site by the Stockholm Challenge Awards, which focuses on pioneering technology projects worldwide.

Net and mobiles

"This is the only website you need to know to get government services and information," explained Yeen Loo Foo of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore.

Technology consultant Yeen Loo Foo
Yeen Loo Foo: Alerts to your mobile
The site offers a comprehensive guide to public services in this hi-tech city-state in southeast Asia.

Almost 80% of services are online, such as transport, education and libraries.

"You can find out the books you are holding on to or the books you have reserved and whether they are available to pick up," Ms Foo told the BBC programme Go Digital.

Singapore is not just using the web to reach its citizens. People can sign up to receive reminders on their mobile phone if they have an overdue book, for example.

Wired city

The success of the site can be explained by the pervasiveness of the internet and mobile phones in Singapore.

Approximately 60% of homes have computers and more than 50% are online.

Mobiles are even more popular with three out of four owning a phone.

But Singapore has yet to experiment with one key aspect of e-government. It is looking at e-voting but at the moment, people can only find information about where they have to go to vote.

The Stockholm Challenge is a non-profit initiative of the City of Stockholm, which seeks to recognise projects that aim to bridge the digital divide.

See also:

27 May 02 | Country profiles
28 Aug 02 | Politics
01 Nov 02 | Technology
07 Jun 02 | Technology
05 Dec 01 | Science/Nature
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