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Friday, April 09, 2004

Korea's Broadband REVOLUTION

What Korea is doing will have global impact.In a country of 48 million people, there are 12 million broadband lines, which pump data between 20 to 400 times faster than the old trusted 56K dial-up modem connection over normal copper-wire telephone lines. Of the nearly 16 million Korean households, 78 percent now have a broadband connection—or more than four times the home broadband penetration rate of North America. (The United States has 21.5 million broadband connections serving 110 million households.) On average, Koreans spend more than 20 hours a week surfing the Internet. Korea has the world’s highest rate of video- and movie-on-demand downloads. Last year, 68 percent of all stock trading in Korea was done online (compared with less than 25 percent in the U.S.). Online shopping now makes up nearly 12 percent of all retail sales in Korea. Companies like CJ Home Shopping and LG Home Shopping, which started with home shopping channels on cable TV, now derive the bulk of their revenues from online sales.At top speed, Korea’s broadband connections over very high-bit digital subscriber lines (VDSL) are on average four times faster than the fastest broadband connections that the likes of Comcast.“Korea is at the forefront of the broadband revolution, and everyone from telephone and cable companies in America to policy makers in developing countries wants to learn from Korea’s experience,” says Renee Gamble, Asia telecom analyst for technology research firm IDC in Singapore.
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