Following is a question by the Hon Charles Mok and a written reply by the Secretary for Innovation and Technology, Mr Nicholas W Yang, in the Legislative Council today (April 25):
The Chief Executive indicated in the Policy Address delivered in October last year that the Government would launch a pilot Multi-functional Smart Lampposts scheme at selected urban locations to support the building of a smart city with city-wide coverage of data and network, and complement the future infrastructure development for 5G mobile communications services in Hong Kong. Some members of the information technology sector have pointed out that in addition to lampposts, quite a number of existing on-street facilities (e.g. telephone booths and bus stops) can be converted into infrastructural facilities needed for building a smart city (smart infrastructural facilities). In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) whether it has studied which types of existing on-street facilities are suitable for conversion into smart infrastructural facilities; if so, of the number of each type of such on-street facilities and, among them, the respective numbers of those which are government-owned and privately-owned;
(2) as it is learnt that quite a number of advanced cities are gradually converting existing telephone booths into smart electronic information kiosks which provide services such as free Wi-Fi, telephone communications, power charging through USB ports and provision of city information, as well as installing detectors on on-street facilities to collect various real-time city data in order to strengthen traffic and city management, whether the Government has plans to make reference to such practices and convert Hong Kong’s on-street facilities into smart infrastructural facilities; if it has no such plans, of the reasons for that; if it has such plans, whether the Government will (i) designate the Policy Innovation and Co-ordination Office or set up an inter-departmental task group to undertake the relevant work, so as to strengthen the co-ordination among the various government departments and shorten the related vetting and approval time, as well as (ii) adopt a public-private partnership approach to take forward those conversion works involving privately-owned on-street facilities; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and
(3) regarding the suggestion of converting existing on-street facilities into smart infrastructural facilities, whether the Government will (i) conduct public consultation, and (ii) implement pilot schemes; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
After consulting the relevant departments, a consolidated reply to the three parts of the question is provided as follows.
In March 2018, we briefed the Panel on Information Technology and Broadcasting of the Legislative Council on three key infrastructure projects for smart city development proposed in the 2017 Policy Address. These include the Multi-functional Smart Lampposts pilot scheme. Other than this pilot scheme, we do not have the timetable for converting the existing on-street facilities into smart lampposts. After the first phase of the pilot scheme has been in operation for a year, we will start to review the implementation experience and effectiveness of the scheme. The 400 smart lampposts under the pilot scheme will replace existing street lightings, and do not involve private land or properties.
Regarding the Multi-functional Smart Lampposts pilot scheme, the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer and the Highways Department have formed an inter-departmental task force to take forward the scheme and co-ordinate the work of relevant departments. It is expected that the lamppost design will make provision for interested mobile network operators to install small cells and Wi-Fi hotspots. We will consult the relevant District Councils and the local personalities on the installation of smart lampposts in respective areas.