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America's Broadband Dream Is Alive-- In Korea 356

Posted by timothy
from the global-positioning dept.
An anonymous reader writes "America's Broadband Dream Is Alive in Korea thanks to government encouragement, according to the NY times (free reg, etc...). But profits are elusive." The U.S. is a lot more spread out than Korea, though -- some American cities are pretty well connected.
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America's Broadband Dream Is Alive-- In Korea

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  • interesting (Score:3, Insightful)

    by twiggy (104320) on Monday May 05, 2003 @04:35PM (#5885602) Homepage
    I think this would be much harder to implement here in the US.. too much space, geographically, and an economy that's already in the dumps... it would be cool to see, but maybe wireless would be a more viable option (if it ever becomes legitimately secure, which it sort of inherently isn't, I guess)...
    • usa: 27,6 persons./km2.
      finland: around 16 persons./km2.

      true, finland is a small nation, but so is every us state on it's own.

      basically, you can get phone anywhere, and basically you can get adsl anywhere you can get that (landline)phone in. it's more about people WANTING the service and firms thinking it's a bright idea to provide that service, and since the infastructure needs to be upgraded every few years anyways, providing the service doesn't get to be such a big issue. mind you, we pay for local call
    • Re:interesting (Score:5, Informative)

      by timeOday (582209) on Monday May 05, 2003 @06:15PM (#5886428)
      Did you see the graph in the article though? Canada's broadband penetration is over 2x the US. We're getting spanked by Canada. Now there's a densely populated country for you.

      And yes, I do care, because I'm American and computers are my bread and butter. I worry that we're losing our edge. People in Korea and elsewhere are rapidly embracing the technology, while all Comcast (my broadband provider) can think to do is raise rates and tell me not to use the Internet for anything too unconventional.

      • by t0ny (590331)
        try telling Comcast you cant get DSL for $30. It seems to work sometimes (it happened to a friend, and Im trying it tomorrow).
  • South Korea. (Score:5, Informative)

    by sjanich (431789) on Monday May 05, 2003 @04:35PM (#5885603)
    That would be "South Korea", not "Korea".
    • by Hayzeus (596826) on Monday May 05, 2003 @04:39PM (#5885638) Homepage
      No -- that would be "North Korea". Do not be fooled by the lies of the Americans -- Dear Leader is one seriously l33t d00d.
    • by Guppy06 (410832) on Monday May 05, 2003 @04:45PM (#5885679)
      Yeah, DPRK is still working on "America's Twenty-Four Hours of Continuous Electricity" dream.
    • Im not joking, its DPRK "The Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea" Every news source outside of the US refers to it as such (even our English speaking breatheren in Canada and Britan).
      • by Guppy06 (410832) on Monday May 05, 2003 @05:12PM (#5885933)
        ""The Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea" Every news source outside of the US refers to it as such"

        Yeah, and I suppose you're going to tell me that the abbreviation "DDR" didn't always refer to RAM either. :)

        It's called "North Korea" simply as a conventional short-form of the name, much like how you would refer to "East Germany" and "West Germany" instead of DDR and BRD. "North Korea" simply has fewer syllables than "DPRK" and is similar to saying "America" and "Great Britain." Neither American continent is ruled by just one government and the island of Great Britain is a part of a larger government, but people still know what you mean.

        Of course, if you really want to be technical, there is no "South Korea" either. It's the "Republic of Korea." Similarly, there is no Taiwan (even if you ignore the whole "One China Policy" thing). But who'd want to keep on reading sentences like "The United States of America borders on the United Mexican States" or "Some of the big players in Europe include the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Republic of France, the Federal Republic of Germany and the Russian Federation." About the only country I can think of whose "formal" name is the same as the informal one is Canada, and I think that's at least partly due to the fact that adding any more words to it would require two official names (one English, one French).
        • by FreeUser (11483) on Monday May 05, 2003 @06:45PM (#5886628)
          Funny you should mention Canada.

          With Timothy's typically unenlightened, American Apologist addendum to the original post, and I quote:

          The U.S. is a lot more spread out than Korea, though -- some American cities are pretty well connected.

          one would expect Canada, which is even larger than the US, less densly populated even in its populated areas, and much so in its rural areas, to have even less broadband availability than the United States. However, surprising as it is to many of my countrymen, broadband is both more widely availabe and less expensive in Canada, indeed, in rural Canada, than it is in downtown Chicago.

          This wasn't always the case ... prior to Baby Powell's mismanagement of the FCC (and the local telco monopolies), and prior to that agency's willful unwillingness to enforce federal laws mandating fair and equitable access of competitors to local monopoly last-mile wire, Spring offered an 8 Mbit download/1 MBit upload ADSL service which, for the two months I had it before SBC drove them out of the marketplace with Baby Powell's blessing, Downtown Chicago actually surpassed rural canada in available bandwidth.

          No longer.

          Although I live in the heart of the city, a mere 10 minute walk from the dense, commercial portion of the city commonly referred to as the "loop," I am unable to get affordable DSL at anything greater than 1 Mbit. This, in contrast to the very inexepensive, 2 Mbit and better offerings available to rural residents of Alberta.

          The dichotomy between the United States and Korea (South) isn't one of geography, it is one far more closely related to the dichotomy between Korea (South) and Korea (North), i.e. the difference between a nation with a well managed telecommunications industry and one with a poorly managed telecommunications industry, and while America (The US) bears little resemblence to the deprivations of North Korea, we probably owe that more to a history of decent management which has only, since about the 1980s, become an ongoing condition of zero and even negative-sum gameplaying by our leaders, in contrast to North Korea's fifty odd year of starkly negative-sum policies.[1]

          However, if those of us living here do not get off our butts and insist on good governance, for the good of the many and not just the few, we may find ourselves, in not so many generations at all, bearing a striking resemblence to the third world we so like to disparage. Indeed, arguably, in terms of health care and telecommunications, we already do. Let's hope the greed of the ruling class and their political pawns doesn't extend that to our home or, worse, our food supply.

          [1]Negative-sum games are scenerios in which a player's strategy is to win in such a way that the overall wealth is decreased, but their sum total increases. Imagine starting out with three pies, throwing one in the face of your opponent, and then running off with the other two. Only two pies remain, but 2 pies are better for you than merely 1 1/2. Or imagine an intellectual property regime that impoverishes the culture of billions, but makes a few thousand people filthy rich, and a few million able to make ends-meet, if just barely.

          Zero sum is where you compete for portions of a pool of wealth which neither grows nor shrinks. Assuming a fair outcome, you both end up with 1.5 pies. Assuming an unfair, but nevertheless non-destructive, zero-sum scenerio, the three pies remain in existence and are divvied up in some fashion favoring one party or the other.

          Positive sum scenerios are of course the best, and in terms of physical goods (and limited supply), capitalism generally excels here (except in situations of monopolies, be they 'natural', such as roads and telephone wire, or through economic or political force, such as the East India Tea company in days of yore, or Microsoft today). In this scenerio a strategem is employed that results in the creation of additional pies, which may or may not be shared freel
    • But of course, most people actually know what was meant, even if it wasn't spelled out in grotesque and painful detail... :)
  • by Gefiltefish11 (611646) on Monday May 05, 2003 @04:36PM (#5885613)

    One well-placed North Korean nuke and South Korea's broadband capacity won't look quite as attractive to business.
    • One well-placed North Korean nuke and South Korea's broadband capacity won't look quite as attractive to business.

      More to the point, North Korea has artillery in position right now that could level Seoul in 5 minutes, and It's been like that for years. Talk about a mind-fuck.

      • More significantly, the U.S. have nuclear weapons in position right now that could level the whole planet in 5 minutes, and it's been like that for years. Talk about a mind-fuck.
    • by ADRA (37398)
      The word is Deterance, and North Korea is building nuclear weapons to defend their soverenty against Bush and his fanatically aggressive millitary campaigns.. and you wonder why you have no friends... *sigh*

      PS: Although that is one way to look at things, it is also possible that North Korea has always wanted nukes and has used the Iraqi war as an excuse to build them. Either way, America has made North Korea a lot more justified in building up their weapons programs.

      Teacher: Peace begets peace and war beg
      • The word is Deterance, and North Korea is building nuclear weapons to defend their soverenty against Bush and his fanatically aggressive millitary campaigns.

        Actually, North Korea started their nuke buildup in the 1990's. They signed agreement with the US essentially not to do so in exchanges for food,energy equipment, and other stuff. Then they took their program underground. It has only now come out, now that they may have 2 nuclear devices. Now they are threatning overtly to use them against The US or J

        • by Xerithane (13482) <xerithane@@@nerdfarm...org> on Monday May 05, 2003 @05:14PM (#5885962) Homepage Journal
          Actually, North Korea started their nuke buildup in the 1990's.

          In response to the USSR falling.

          They signed agreement with the US essentially not to do so in exchanges for food,energy equipment, and other stuff. Then they took their program underground.

          After the US didn't do shit to help them.

          It has only now come out, now that they may have 2 nuclear devices. Now they are threatning overtly to use them against The US or Japan.

          They are saying, "If you attack us, we will use them." They aren't saying, "We will use them."

          Unspoken, is that North Korea would be willing to sell them to anyone. They already sell missile and other military tech to anybody.


          They won't. The only guarantee they have to safety is their nuclear arsenal. Why sell the thing that keeps you safe? You may think, "Oh, but they can sell them secretely and still claim they have it." The world intelligence is pretty good, and that ruse wouldn't last long.

          It is pretty funny that you would suggest Bush is a fanatic and not suggest that of the North Korean dictator.

          They're both fanatics. At least Bush is productive in his cleansing, or whatever...
          • After the US didn't do shit to help them.

            The US fully complied with the agreement.

            They won't. The only guarantee they have to safety is their nuclear arsenal. Why sell the thing that keeps you safe? You may think, "Oh, but they can sell them secretely and still claim they have it." The world intelligence is pretty good, and that ruse wouldn't last long.

            Most of the process of getting nukes is gaining the technical expertise to build them. They can sell this without losing it. Also, they can keep some
            • The US fully complied with the agreement.

              If the US fully complied with the agreement they made, than N. Korea would have had "safe" nuclear power generators going by 1998. The US lagged really hard on the nuclear power issue, which was probably the most important aspect of the agreement (from a Korean point of view.) I'm not advocating in any way N. Korea's actions, but the US was not an altar-boy (molested or no) in the exchange.

              Most of the process of getting nukes is gaining the technical expertise
          • You have no idea what you are talking about.

            The US, South Korea, and Japan have been providing large amounts of food aid to North Korea for years now.

            They signed the so-called 'Sunshine' agreement (The official name was the 'agreeded' protocal, or something like that), guaranteeing oil, and light water reactors in exchange for shelving their nuclear weapons program.

            Then North Korea says, oh, by the way, we've been building nukes all along.

            And using nukes as a deterrent? Bullshit. They are using nukes fo
    • by YrWrstNtmr (564987) on Monday May 05, 2003 @04:54PM (#5885763)
      One well-placed North Korean nuke and South Korea's broadband capacity won't look quite as attractive to business.

      And North Korea won't look attractive to anyone but cockroaches.

      Oh, wait...
  • by Dutchmaan (442553) on Monday May 05, 2003 @04:39PM (#5885631) Homepage
    ..and is anyone wondering why despite America's huge landmass and population spread over it.. that this broadband dream hasn't happened here yet? :)
  • Sigh... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by armyofone (594988) <armeeofone@hotmail.com> on Monday May 05, 2003 @04:41PM (#5885650)
    Maybe I would have broadband available where I live if the US government were an 'encouraging' entity instead of bogged down in bureaucracy. Whatever happened to leadership? Looks to me as though it's moving overseas...
    • Re:Sigh... (Score:2, Interesting)

      Why must the government be expected to offer every luxury?

      A government is for governing and protecting its citizens, not offering luxury goods to them. If the government did this, what is next, universal "socialist" health care? A pair of pants on every citizen? I mean, come on!

      The government funded electricity and telephone service in its infancy, but those were utilities. I don't see how broadband is a utility.
    • Re:Sigh... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by geekee (591277) on Monday May 05, 2003 @05:07PM (#5885881)
      So you want the US to subsidize failing telcos? That's your idea of an encouraging entity? That's what I'd consider a socialist beuracracy. Let free market decide. The technology is here. It's not like the US has to encourage developing the technology. If people want it, let them pay for it, but don't make taxpayers pay for bandwidth they have already chosen to opt without, and stick with cheaper dial-up access instead.
  • by the_2nd_coming (444906) on Monday May 05, 2003 @04:43PM (#5885661) Homepage
    S. Korea has. they have a government driven Capitolist system. the government tells each company what to make.

    so the governement told the telco to make broadband available every where and the telco did.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      they have a government driven Capitolist system.

      What, the Government spends all it's time encouraging the erection of more government buildings?

      (hur hur, he said 'erection')
  • by fastdecade (179638) on Monday May 05, 2003 @04:43PM (#5885663)
    Not only is USA more spread out, but Korea is full of high-density housing. I mean, Seoul looks like something out of a profitable Sim City, with entire clusters of high-density houses. And then theres the net cafes for LAN games for when the kiddies want to leave their broadband home connections and go outside.

    Koreas definitely at the forefront - subway has cell phone access, mainstream TV shows feature live gaming ... like in Japan, but with less bullshit bureaucracy. If anything, Id say Korea is fast becoming Japans technophile dream.
    • by inaeldi (623679) on Monday May 05, 2003 @04:56PM (#5885779)
      But look at Canada. Canada is even more spread out that the US and it has far better broadband access (than the US, not Korea).
      • by duncf (628065)
        Canada's got a large land area, but do you think many of us actually live in the North?

        The majority of Canada's population is concentrated near the border... where it's a little warmer. :-)
    • by dcw3 (649211)
      Having lived in ROK for several years, I can tell you that they've got their own share of "bullshit bureaucracy". If you need something from a bureaucrat, graft is encouraged, as long as there are no reporters around. Witness the fact that some of the previous presidents (and family members) have been convicted of corruption schemes. That said, Korean citizens tend to be very hard workers. Virtually every pedestrian (in the urban areas) carries a cell phone because they're cheap. You won't see anyplace
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 05, 2003 @04:43PM (#5885666)
    Thanks to our lame free enterprise system, where one company (regardless of how many smaller units the FTC breaks it up into) owns all of the cable or phone line, broadband is just not affordable.

    We've gone from ~$30/mo for 6Mb in the @Home days to nearly $50/mo for 1.5Mb thanks to ATT and now Comcast. In another 5 years, BB will be $100/mo for 768Kb. Gee, more money for less speed, I can't imagine why it's not taking off!
  • Blame Canada (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 05, 2003 @04:44PM (#5885669)
    The U.S. is a lot more spread out than Korea, though

    And what about Canada? They're up there too with ~%50 penetration. You can't really claim that they're much less spread out than the US. I imagine that dense urban areas, where implementing broadband would be easiest, make up a similar percentage of population as well.

    On top of that their rates are lower than those in the US (in Candian $'s nonetheless!).
    • You can blame our somewhat socialistic government for THAT one :-)
  • RTFA Timothy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by psycho (84421) on Monday May 05, 2003 @04:44PM (#5885675) Homepage
    Connectivity is not the primary issue. The article says broadband in S. Korea is a vastly different thing from so-called "broadband" in the US. In-fact, end-mile access speeds of more than 4 Mbps are changing the way the S. Koreans use the internet.
  • At who's expense? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by geekee (591277) on Monday May 05, 2003 @04:46PM (#5885694)
    When you see $32 for great bandwidth, but also see a lot of govt. subsidizing, you need to ask yourself who's really paying the price. Is it fair for taxpayers to provide cheap bandwidth for others even if they don't use the internet? In the US, this has been left to free market, and the internet bubble burst is quite a bit of proof that the average American would rather pay less for a slow connection than pay more for a fast one. Why force the tax burden on the majority to benefit a minority that actually uses it?
    • When you see $32 for great bandwidth, but also see a lot of govt. subsidizing, you need to ask yourself who's really paying the price. Is it fair for taxpayers to provide cheap bandwidth for others even if they don't use the internet? In the US, this has been left to free market, and the internet bubble burst is quite a bit of proof that the average American would rather pay less for a slow connection than pay more for a fast one. Why force the tax burden on the majority to benefit a minority that actually
    • Why force the tax burden on the majority to benefit a minority that actually uses it?

      You pay taxes for schools that you don't use, and to support the Interstate Highway System even if you don't have a car.

      Society as a whole pays for the infrastructure expenses required to allow its functioning as a society that whose expenses can't be directly allocated to the specifically benefiting groups.

      While this is "immoral" according to the tenet of Libertarian cult belief, it means that we get a society that can

  • The only problem.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AndroidCat (229562) on Monday May 05, 2003 @04:46PM (#5885695) Homepage
    .. is that the entire nation was dumped on the Internet at the same time. An entire nation of newbies. All the schools in South Korea got the same distro of Linux with open proxies running, and I'm not sure if there's a single working abuse emailbox in the whole country.
  • "thanks to government encouragement,"

    We've tried the whole "government encouragement" bit to an extent, except our phone companies aren't interested in having their cake if they can't eat it as well.

    I expect the Baby Bells to be using this as an excuse to lobby our Congress to loosen up the Telecommunications Act of 1996 a bit...
  • How about Canada? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by miguel_at_menino.com (89271) on Monday May 05, 2003 @04:49PM (#5885711)

    The U.S. is a lot more spread out than Korea, though -- some American cities are pretty well connected.

    From what I gather, DSL and Cable is cheaper and more available in Canada than in the US. And we know that Canada is much more "spread out" than the US. So that's not the reason at all.

    I don't understand why Americans are so against government intervention in this area. It's not so evil or communist to have the government subsidize, legislate or otherwise help create infrastructure. Nobody calls the US interstate highway system "communist" or "socialist" because the government built it. Besides, who paid for ARPANET in the first place? What ARPANET communist?

    • Re:How about Canada? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sql*kitten (1359)
      I don't understand why Americans are so against government intervention in this area. It's not so evil or communist to have the government subsidize, legislate or otherwise help create infrastructure.

      Guess you're too young to remember just how bad the state-monopoly telco really was :-)
    • Canada? (Score:5, Informative)

      by stego (146071) on Monday May 05, 2003 @04:53PM (#5885749) Homepage
      It is my understanding that, while Canada is a large country, that like 95% of the population lives w/ in like 100 miles of the US/Canada border. It would be more accurate to think of Canada as a very short but wide country, like a sideways Chile.
      • Re:Canada? (Score:4, Informative)

        by jfowlie (98895) on Monday May 05, 2003 @06:02PM (#5886347)
        Well... the numbers aren't right. It's 85% within 300kms (180 miles) of the border... including the Alaskan border.

        However, that doesn't account for everything. We're far enough north to be outside that 85% and everyone here is getting broadband for less than $35CAD ($24.50 USD -- and I'm paying $17.50USD now) and we've been on broadband for a couple of years. Most people I know are on broadband, and dialup is quickly becoming a historical artifact.

        It was really bizarre for me to actually have to use my modem a few weeks ago when I was on a business trip... I had forgotten how slow dialup really was!
    • I don't understand why Americans are so against government intervention in this area.

      I can't speak for all of America, but my reason is that once government starts paying for something, it ineluctably starts to remake it in ways pleasing to it. The attitude is, "we're laying out the dough for this thing, and that makes it ours." An example would be government-paid health care. Because it's picking up the check for some people, government feels it can cajole, nag, and regulate those who smoke, drink, are o

    • It's not so evil or communist to have the government subsidize...

      The gov't has no money of it's own! Any funds they get come from thee and me anyway. How would we benefit from having another tax to fund this? Broadband is already available in a lot of places, and people are not adopting it now. Some even leaving cable/DSL and going back to dialup. And if it isn't available in your earea. there's always (yuck) satellite.

      Where is the killer app that demands gov't funded broadband? We already have an int
    • It's what percentage of the population lives in urban areas. The ratio is probably pretty even in all the countries listed. Korea, Japan, etc. are more dense because of smaller land area but in the end even in the U.S. the majority of the people live in cities so you would expect the rate of DSL availablity to be similar.

      Obviously the list shows this is not the case, so other factors are at work.
    • But I think population density has something to do with it. If every US state was like Montana, we'd have a much higher percentage of people in or close to the cities, and a much higher percentage of broadband coverage. However, many US states are like Indiana, where there are approximately five or six houses every square mile. It's hard to cover country like that. Much of Canada is quite different [statcan.ca]. You go a few dozen miles from the metropolitan areas and there is virtually nobody around. Canada doesn
    • The highways are a natural evolution from railroads, which are more expensive to build and maintain, and are obviously not as flexible. Demand was, and continues to be, intense.

      ARPANET was a defense initiative so major universities that subsisted on defense funding could communicate with one another quickly during the Cold War. I think the rise of the public Internet was a pleasant surprise for everybody.

      It's not clear what the return on investment will be for a legislated rollout of broadband. In Cana
  • by ilsie (227381) on Monday May 05, 2003 @04:49PM (#5885715)
    Last time I was in S. Korea (December, 2001) someone quoted me a statistic that one out of every two people (that includes everybody- babies, homeless guys, old people) have a hand phone. (cell phone for those US-centric.)

    I was being made fun of by old people because my state-of-the-art US cell phone at the time was a "brick".

    Obviously, broadband is just as widespread. My 80-year old grandmother doesen't even have a washing machine, but she has DSL, for crying out loud.
    • by djupedal (584558)
      I've lived/worked here in South Korea for the last 4 years. It took me two years to get ADSL, and one year later they bumped me to VDSL for free. Saying the penisula is saturated with connectivity is an understatement.

      We're being told the country will have 802.11b end-to-end by the end of summer. The airport has had it for the last year. The old and new govts. push for this type of infrastructure. New apt. buildings for the last two years come jacked for broadband. If you have a need for speed, this is t
  • Off topic a little...

    Broadband aside, one of the reasons Internet connectivity in England is so fast is that pretty much all of the ISP's are housed in 2 buildings - Telehouse City and Telehouse East. This is doable because England is so small (about the size of Florida). Therefore, if you connect to another UK site the chances are your interconnect is over a 100Mbit (or even faster) LAN connection.

    Is it the same way in South Korea? If so local Internet must be blindingly fast!

    I would love to see this
    • Broadband aside, one of the reasons Internet connectivity in England is so fast is that pretty much all of the ISP's are housed in 2 buildings - Telehouse City and Telehouse East.

      You're kidding! You mean one natural (or unnatural) disaster and half of England is off the net? That seems very September 10th.

      • It's a distinct possibility! Of course, most ISP's have local POPs with backup servers. The ones that don't, well, they're idiots.

        The chances are that it'd take a pretty powerful bomb to knock out those buildings, though - my theory is that if a nuke hit Telehouse the walls and floor would crumble but the racks would be held up by the massive amount of wiring.
  • by Bazouel (105242) on Monday May 05, 2003 @04:51PM (#5885735)
    From the site :

    1- South Korea : 57.4 %
    2- Canada : 49.9 %
    3- Japon : 25.6 %
    4- USA : 22.8 %

    Canada ratio is double than that of USA !

    I guess that kind of make the argument "The U.S. is a lot more spread out than Korea" a bit overdue at the very least :)
  • I thought I remember reading in one of my dusty history books that people who lived in the former Soviet Union had shitty consumer goods and infrastructure because the spent all their money on military endeavors. Correct me if I'm wrong.
  • by andyring (100627) on Monday May 05, 2003 @04:54PM (#5885766) Homepage
    While this may be interesting, in a capitalist society such as the U.S., it is not the government's responsibility to provide Internet access to individuals. I am perfectly happy with my DSL as is, and i don't want them meddling in it. If I wanted socialism, I'd move to South Korea or Europe. But I don't.
    • If you'd rather live in a technology backwater than have positive government intervention in broadband, you got your wish.

      Did you see the comments above about the guy who took a US state-of-the-art mobile phone to South Korea and gave the South Koreans a chance to laugh at those primitive Americans by doing so?

      As I said, you got your wish.

    • Yeah right. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by enkidu (13673) on Monday May 05, 2003 @06:20PM (#5886456) Homepage Journal
      I guess since this is a capitalist society, it also isn't the government's responsibility to provide for roads, sewage or electricity. Or regulate our food, drugs, oil or water. The free market solved all of those problems so incredibly well that we don't have any government involvement in any of those areas. Do you think that all roads should be privately owned toll roads? Should the interstate system be privatized?

      The neo-cons may mistakenly believe the pseudo-libertarian notion that everything should be a market, but any student of history and economics knows that a society is best served when public utilities are managed in the interest of the public as a whole. In case you didn't notice, sewage, gas, electricity, water, and roads are considered public utilities. What's so different about telecommunications?

  • Cities well wired? (Score:4, Informative)

    by SuperBanana (662181) on Monday May 05, 2003 @04:54PM (#5885769)
    I live 30 minutes from Boston, smack inbetween the 495 and 128 technology corridors. Eastern MA, for years, has been the Silicon Valley of the east- a LOT of old-school companies were here, and a number of companies are still firmly planted in Boston, Worcester, Framingham/Natick, Burlington...

    ...but I have ONE choice in cable, and last I checked, DSL wasn't being sold in my area by Bell- they don't offer DSL anywhere there's cablemodem access, because(gasp!) they don't want to compete. I think they may have started offering DSL now(they CO has been wired for DSL for many, many years), but the prices are absurd and there's a 96kbit upload cap. Yes, you read right, 96kbit! How am I supposed to upload cute photos to grandma, or "my files" they've always got some business-person-type harking about, for work, at 96kbit?

    In lower/mid-westchester 2 years ago, I had 1.5mbit/768 for about $70/mo, and my choice of providers(I went with Speakeasy and paid a little more per month.) I was quite far from NYC, and Westchester doesn't have nearly the technology industry that most of eastern MA has.

  • Cheap in Asia (Score:5, Informative)

    by SynKKnyS (534257) on Monday May 05, 2003 @04:57PM (#5885788)
    In nearly all countries in Asia, broadband is very cheap. Here in Taiwan, it only costs $10/Month for cable modem service via an annual fee. To push the broadband rush, the government has mandated all dial-up services to be free. In Taiwan, dial-up [tacomart.com] is [yahoo.com]nearly free [gcn.net.tw]. The only thing you pay for is the by-minute phone charges that occur on every call here.

    However, a lot of people used the free dial-up service. So, broadband ISPs had to push to get customers. They have done things like offering extremely cheap service and promising amazing speeds. This is not only limited to Taiwan, similar broadband pushes have occurred in China, Hong Kong, and even South Korea.

    To comment on timothy's blurb and the article, although the US is well connected it does not have the push that Asian countries go for. The $32/month internet service is quite expensive in South Korea. Although the US is widespread, laws and regulations have also hindered the spread of broadband. For instance, there is no law in the US forcing cable systems to have competitors when it comes to broadband internet. There may be other examples, but I will leave that to Slashdotters to discuss.
    • Re:Cheap in Asia (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Malfourmed (633699)
      In nearly all countries in Asia, broadband is very cheap. Here in Taiwan, it only costs $10/Month for cable modem service via an annual fee.
      But what's that $10 compared to the cost of living?
  • The key difference (Score:5, Insightful)

    by release7 (545012) on Monday May 05, 2003 @05:02PM (#5885843) Homepage Journal
    In the US, the Internet is considered to be a consumer product. So if there's not way to make immediate cash, there's not going to be any technological progress. In other more forward looking countries, the Internet is a collective investment, that everyone benefits from, not just corporations. It's this mindset that has allowed Canada and Korea to pull far ahead.

    Particularly discouraging is that the US doesn't even have a policy to get broadband into every home on the horizon while practically all other modern, democratized nations do. We're still waiting for the Free Market Fairy to come along and wave her magic wand.

    • No, it's not "collective investment" since 40% of American's don't use the internet on a daily basis. It *doesn't* benefit everyone. Thus, you'd be taking tax money from 100% of the population, and then redistributing that to a smaller part of the population.

      So, take your "collective investment" bullshit and take it to China. Here in America, you buy things you need and don't rely on the government to tax the population to provide you with non-necessities. Want high-speed access? Sure, buy it yourself. But
      • Not everyone had a car but we still built the highway and road system because it did benefit everyone. If you had things your way, you'd still be pushing your automobile through endless miles of muddy ruts. Your anti-tax, anti-government stance is just plain stubborn, unrealistic and out of date in a complex society.
  • by dananderson (1880) on Monday May 05, 2003 @05:05PM (#5885869) Homepage
    People forget that there's some responsibility using the Internet--this includes not soaking the rest of the world in spam and (for ISPs) not ignoring abuse complaints. I've blocked South Korea completely by routing all Korea IP blocks to a blackhole (non-existant IP address). If you'd like to do the same for this (and perhaps other countries and select ISPs), see http://www.blackholes.us/ [blackholes.us] Click on (South) Korea.

    Once this and other rogue nations and ISPs behave in a responsible manner, perhaps they can rejoin the club. Now back to our regular programming :-) . . .

    • I've blocked South Korea completely by routing all Korea IP blocks to a blackhole (non-existant IP address). If you'd like to do the same for this (and perhaps other countries and select ISPs), see http://www.blackholes.us/ Click on (South) Korea.

      And similarly, many departments in the university I used to go in Estonia have blocked MSN, Yahoo, AOL and all other significant US ISPs because most of their spam originates from there. Obviously, such blind blocking is not a very good idea, and Koreans certain
  • Korea? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DaytonCIM (100144) on Monday May 05, 2003 @05:10PM (#5885912) Homepage Journal
    Did I miss something? Did the two Koreas repair their relationship and become one? Or have we used US Tax $dollars to wire up North Korea?
  • Size doesn't matter (Score:5, Informative)

    by shking (125052) <babulicm@cuug.a b . ca> on Monday May 05, 2003 @05:11PM (#5885923) Homepage
    The U.S. is a lot more spread out than Korea, though
    That argument doesn't hold water. Canada is more spread out than the U.S., but is in second place. It's a bigger country, with one tenth the population, yet it has more than twice the broadband penetration.

    From the article, here is a list showing the broadband penetration as a percentage of Internet households:

    1. 57.4% - South Korea
    2. 49.9% - Canada
    3. 25.6% - Japan
    4. 22.8% - United States
    5. 18.4% - Sweden
    6. 18.1% - Germany
    7. 14.6% - France
    8. 10.8% - Italy
    9. 10.7% - Britain
  • 2Mbps/512kbps (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Nicolas MONNET (4727) <nicoaltiva@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Monday May 05, 2003 @05:29PM (#5886090) Journal
    I get 2Mbps/512kbps for 29.90 a month with Free [adsl.free.fr] in Paris. No sign-up fee, modem provided at no cost.

    Interestingly, those guys, who have run on free software for year (hence the name, Free), have developed their own set-top box, AKA Freebox, which is more than just an ADSL modem: it's got 100baseTX, USB1.1, 2x phone RJ-11, one SCART and has an IR remote control.

    They plan on providing digital TV and phone service through ADSL soon. Service is unrestricted, unmetered, unfiltered, static IP through DHCP, though still a bit rough around the edge at times.
  • South Koreans are also avid gamers. They show competitions on TV for crying out loud. And of course to play these games competitively you gotta have broadband or go to one of these cybercafes. One could say these games are a killer app for broadband. Meanwhile, here in the US you've got people who think 56K is fast enough because all they do online is send email. Others can't get broadband because they live in the sticks or just aren't willing to pay for it. Lasty there's the group of holdouts who thi
  • The article speaks of Silicon Valley executives envying South Korea. They need look no further than the mirror for the reason why they or their employees can't plug into the same kind of CitiLEC fiber-to-the-curb service available in most of South Korea.

    They could have pressured Silicon Valley Power and PG&E to open their utility fiber optic networks to provide Silicon Valley with cheap bandwidth. Presumably, they were too busy figuring out what parts of their companies to outsource to bother.

    The new

  • broadband (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kpeerless (122687)
    We have uncapped wireless here in the Queen Charlotte Islands for $40 Canadian a month from a private, unsubsidized isp. There's no reason to not have it in the US... only excuses.

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