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Korea's Broadband Achievements
Feb 4, 2003

South Korea has become the unlikely home of the most successful broadband rollout in the world and there are plenty of lessons the UK can learn from its experience of high-speed net access. Putting education at the top of the broadband agenda and increasing competition among network providers are just two of the key points to come out of a UK government fact-finding mission to South Korea.

Over 60% of Koreans have a broadband connection and high-speed access has become a part of everyday life in the country.

Net communities were largely responsible for the huge wave of public enthusiasm displayed during the 2002 World Cup where millions of South Koreans met up on the street to watch matches.

10illion connections by end of 2002 74% of surfers use audio/video 90% of population live near a telephone exchange Koreans are use to cheap and fast broadband. 2MB broadband costs $25 per month and 8MB of broadband costs $33 per month. Not surprisingly, 10 million Koreans enjoyed broadband connections and about 74% of web surfers made use of audio and video content through the internet. Watching TV on the PC is common practice in Korean households.

One of the most important factors accounting for the hugely successful rollout of broadband in Korea was government commitment and investment.

The government provided $1.5bn to create a backbone network and another $1bn on loans to ensure companies took broadband to rural areas. By 2006 the government wants to provide 20 megabits to every home in Korea.

Its determination to convert the country to a knowledge-based economy was total and it offered PC subsidies for low income families and put 10 million Koreans on a one month training course.

Perhaps most importantly broadband was integrated into its education policy so all teachers had web pages and pupils were required to submit their homework via the internet. Education was a major driver for residential broadband. Geography has played a large part in why broadband has been rolled out so quickly in Korea. 80% of the population live in urban areas and nearly half of those live in large apartment blocks with a single communication room for broadband connections.

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