Korea: The Bandwitdh Capital of the World?

Today, I found this piece of news about broadband in Korea. This is one of my interest recently. Please read this first.

In Seoul, the broadband age is in full swing – online games have become a national sport, and cybercafes are the new singles bars.

And the numbers are impressive ?South Korea has the highest per capita broadband penetration in the world. Slightly more than half of its households have high-bandwidth connections, compared to less than 10 percent in the US. The growth in broadband has surged in the last three years from a few hundred thousand subscribers to 8.5 million

As luck would have it, urban apartment dwellers have a lot of broadband capacity right under their noses, courtesy of Kepco, the public power utility, which developed a network of fiber-optic cables for its own use years ago. In 1996, South Korea allowed Kepco to lease the unused 90 percent of its capacity, giving upstart providers a cheap, instant last-mile solution. Sharp competition with Korea Telecom, which the government forced to open its network in the early ’90s, has driven broadband prices down to the world’s lowest levels. All-you-can-eat service is available for as little as $25 a month.

I partly disagree with the report on some details.

South Korea has the highest per capita broadband penetration in the world? No.

According to Nielsen/NetRatings report, Hong Kong seems to be the top region in the world, with amazing 66.6% of people accessing Internet using broadband. German 45%, Switherland 43%…. United States ranked low with 17% broadband access, not less than 10%.

… drives broadband prices down to the world’s lowest level? Maybe.

It is true that it is of the world’s lowest level, but it is not the lowest price in the world. In Shanghai, ADSL (type of DSL) charges 130 RMB ($15.7) each month. For 100M broadband, like GWBN, it costs only 100 RMB ($12) for one month.

Korea did great job in broadband deployment? Yes.

It is amazing to see how Korea is wired with broadband. The online game, PC Baangs, and the certification for buildings…. all sound exciting.

Much more problems ahead for broadband deployment in Shanghai

I checked local media to find the comparasion data in Shanghai. At last, I found this one:

Internet users in Shanghai exceeded one million last week. 61.7% in urban area chose traditional dial-up, the other 38.3% chose broadband.

source: Jie Fang Daily (Chinese site)

However, the situation here is not that good than in Korea. Another report from Eastday.com (Chinese site), only 5% of the residents are subscribers of broadband. News about the finanical difficulties for some broadband companies is full of media.

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