“Korea: The Broadband Republic”

Posted on: future.iftf.org

Big Idea. “You don’t have to be in front of a Web browser to see the impact of the Internet; it’s out in the streets.” The emerging Korean broadband society is about Koreanness, not broadband; so the lessons may not translate. Yet it’s still worth studying for two reasons. 1) Speed at which things have happened: it’s 3-5 years ahead of Japan, 10 ahead of US, 20 ahead of Europe. 2) Korea is one of the most urbanized countries in the world: 90% of the population lives in 7 urban areas, putting it on the edge of global demographic trends.

Korea, Broadband Republic. For all intents and purposes, 100% of people who could be online already are; the exceptions are the elderly and people in rural areas. (At one time, 25% of the world’s broadband users were in Korea, and 10% were in Seoul.) Korea is well ahead of Japan in wireless infrastructure, 2.5G or 3G, broadband, and is about to launch digital mobile broadcasts– 15 channels of digital TV to mobile devices delivered by satellite.

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