Korea is hooked to the big pipe and sucking up the porn. Seoul Now reports:
- On Nov. 6, the Korean government held a special ceremony to stress that the number of high-speed Internet subscribers surpassed the 10 million mark in October.
The ceremony was held at the headquarters building of the Ministry of Information and Communication in downtown Seoul, with the participation of President Kim Dae-jung.
The information ministry said in a statement that the country achieved the “incredible result” in just four years since the formal high-speed Internet service was launched in 1998.
It said the 10 million mark stresses the fact that Korea is “the No. 1 Internet nation” in the world.
….The number of broadband subscribers was 370,000 in 1999, 4.02 million in 2000 and 7.81 million in 2001. The 10 million mark was finally set in October this year.
The information ministry said about 98 percent of local administrative districts have high-speed Internet access, largely because ADSL utilizes existing copper wire telephone lines and tends to spread fast among local residents.
As of end-December last year, the high-speed Internet user rate in Korea is 17.16 percent, the largest in the world, followed by Canada (8.4 percent), Sweden (4.96 percent), the United States (4.47 percent) and Japan (2.23 percent).
The average of OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries is 2.9 percent, suggesting that Korea has indeed pulled off a faster-than-expected growth in the broadband market.
….The ubiquitous Internet access – at home, in the office and at tens of thousands of PC salons across the nation – have brought fresh sources of income to online game developers and portal operators.
Meanwhile, KT and Hanaro are also keen to upgrade and export their ADSL solutions and technologies. Their latest concern is how to kickstart the so-called VDSL (very high bit rate DSL), a next-generation high-speed Internet technology.
ADSL offers differing upload and download speeds and can be configured to deliver up to 6 Mbps (megabits of data per second) from the network to the customer – up to 120 times faster than dialup service and 100 times faster than ISDN.
ADSL enables voice and high-speed data to be sent simultaneously over the existing telephone line. Korea is now set to migrate from ADSL to VDSL in order to meet the rising demand for high-capacity multimedia content over the broadband network.
VDSL offers up to 26 Mbps – and some experts say 52 Mbps – over distances of up to 50 meters. Its optical fiber network infrastructure is particularly useful for campus environments and business parks. And the speed itself is what the information ministry aims to achieve in the next four years.
High-speed Internet providers view VDSL service as the most promising technology that would persuade existing subscribers to upgrade their network access packages and select premium services such as high-quality video-on-demand and other multimedia content.
And what do Koreans do with this abundance of connectivity? Games and porn:
- I would love to report that content has driven the Korean revolution, but although gaming and indigenous content have played their part (oh, all right then, and porn – happy?), the real drivers are economic and cultural. It’s easy to get DSL lines into the densely-populated Korean cities and high-rise blocks: 70% of the population live in the big cities. Also, narrowband users were being gouged by time-based high call charges, rather than flat rates, so an always-on connection for roughly the same price made sense. Strong competition between four rival DSL providers has kept prices down and driven service up.
But there’s another deeper factor. Not surprisingly, given the vicious subjugation of Korea by Japan during the second world war, the South Koreans are very wary of all things Japanese – so console gaming from Sony, Nintendo and Sega has never taken off. Instead, computer games have become a mass entertainment medium. Some cable stations actually broadcast competitive online games between pro-gamers – think Robot Wars meets the Belfry. These shows are hardly niche, some of them win their slots with more than a 40% share. Perhaps if Fame Academy were Game Academy, the BBC might get itself ahead of the curve. I’m already working on the format. [Guardian]
Some Australians, who are lagging far behind in broadband penetration, sniff indignantly:
- Said Senator Alston: “Well for example, people will tell you that pornography is one of the major reasons why there’s been a high take-up rate in South Korea. I haven’t confirmed that at first instance but I’ve been there, I’ve looked at what’s happening.
So there you have it. South Korea is the number one broadband nation thanks to porno.
It has nothing to do with the fact that the nation has high population density, which makes the roll-out of broadband networks to end users more cost effective; or a highly competitive Internet access sector that has helped drive down prices to some of the lowest in the world; or a willingness of its population to embrace technology.
Not to mention that South Koreans love to play computer games online, shop, do their banking, oh, and use it for education. [The Register]
A Geek in Korea blog joined the discussion back in October:
- Life as I know it has come to an end. I have entered a new era, an era unlike any I’ve ever known before. This new ear comes with promises of unlimited entertainment (movies. games, music), and knowledge beyond comprehension (Google news). It also has costs, such as a completely brutal sleep depriving insomnia (just got to download that last movie before I go to bed), and the requirement of learning bizzare langagues (eDonkey is a what now?) and a persistent barrage of pornography advertisements (‘Nuff said.)
Yes, this is the Broadband Era, and it’s in my small basement apartment now. The installation of which marks then end all be all to any question ever asked about my free time, as from now all on answers will probably contain the phrase “Checked (x) out online…”
Along with my internet connection my cable television also got installed today as well, almost completing my dwelling’s requirements for functionality…(The cell phone arrives on Monday from work.) Now all I need is some food, and some movies and I will be set whenever a dull weekend strikes.
But, this weekend started off with a bang. June, one of the Korean teachers at work, Carey and I went shopping at Emart, where I picked up a chair and small TV tray for my computer. We headed over to Carey’s apartment and Marc introduced me to “Tequilla Sunrises”…after my long three morning extended visit in tequilla country we all headed out to the Nore-bong with new and improved songs! We could fail to sing in whole new ways! Excellent.
I expect a knock on the door sooner or later for tonight’s journey into drunken debauchery, so excuse me while I go and get myself ready….wait, I’ll do it…after this movie downloads…>=0)
Get hold of yourself, man! It’s just a computer.
Re broadband, now that I ‘ve had a cable modem for over a year, I can’t imagine surfing the Internet without it – just not worth the headaches and delays.
Re Korea, we went for the ’88 Olympics and had a great time although the people did seem a bit on the obsessive side: at the time the obsession was karaoke, which would seem to refute the “wary of all things Japanese” theory. In my former incarnation as a drunken idiot, my wife (at the time) and I got tossed from a Seoul karaoke bar after drinking way too much and getting into a loud argument over whose turn it was. We thought the ejection was bit premature, but the bouncer informed us the manager thought we were “US military,” and US military routinely got in fights and beat up Koreans after they were through beating up each other. Ouch.