The Korea Herald


Hyper-speed internet to be available all across country next year: ICT ministry

By Yeo Jun-suk

Published : June 10, 2019 - 16:31

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Those living in South Korea are expected to enjoy the benefits of hyper-speed internet in every nook and cranny of the country from as early as next year, as the Korean government pledged to designate it “mandatory business” for internet service providers.

The Ministry of Science and ICT said Monday that it will mandate telecommunications companies provide ultra-fast internet to every part of South Korea. The initiative is to be enforced on Jan. 1, 2020 via government decree, the ministry added.

The measure is designed to provide universal internet access for every person residing in Korea, as those living in far-flung villages have often suffered from limited access due to lack of internet infrastructure.

“We want to make sure users can access hyper-speed internet at any place and any time,” said the ministry. “Internet service will be designated as a basic obligation for service providers, like public telephones.” 

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While South Korea has long been considered to be one of the most wired countries in the world, the benefits have largely centered on big cities, as private companies were reluctant toward the massive construction costs in remote areas.

Gangwon Province was identified as the most difficult region to access hyper-speed internet in Korea. According to 2018 government statistics, the municipality’s internet penetration rate was 83.7 percent, compared to Seoul’s 91.4 percent.

Some buildings so far unable to access hyper-speed internet will be subject to the government’s efforts to expand penetration rate, the ministry said. It added that internet service would be available at much faster speeds than in other countries around the world.

“Those living in remote rural village and other ‘high-cost’ regions were unable to use hyper-speed internet, as companies were reluctant to provide the service. ... Now that hyper-speed internet has become a necessity for everyday lives, we will expand the service everywhere,” the ministry said.