Tales from 'most connected place on earth'
Korea is the country that many other nations aspire to be like in terms of broadband services, and one that is often used to illustrate how slow broadband services are in the UK. Joel Strauch, in a special report to PC World and found on Yahoo.com gives some insight into the broadband services of Korea. The full item can be found here.
Reading the piece, the most striking thing for us, is the large variation in services available, for example, Joel is paying $30 for a 1.5Mbps connection, but others on the outskirts of Seoul are getting access to a 100Mbps network for around $20 a month. It also stuck out, that Joel was pleased with his connection in Korea, since it twice the speed and almost half the price of the connection he had in the USA ($50). The UK is starting to see parts of the UK accelerate in terms of what is available, but not yet to the extent of Korea, but in the UK we are already seeing complaints over the potential digital divide.
The large $11 billion reason why Korea has such extensive and fast networks, is that the government backed this massive expansion plan with money, rather than just talk, and flagship envoys. The Korean government though has not stopped, it is looking to make 100Mbps type connections available to all of Korea by 2010.
Korea appears to have embraced always on, fast connections, and after the news the other week that the UK is the king of pirated TV programmes it seems surprising to read of the extent of peer to peer use. European ISPs often complain of the levels of P2P traffic (around 60% is a common quote), so one wonders how Korea copes. One possibility is that with the massive amounts of interconnectivity in Korea much traffic remains local, rather than using expensive transit routes around the world.