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The Internet

Net-Nexus Seoul 138

An anonymous reader writes: "Wired has a story in their new issue about Seoul, Korea and how it is The Bandwidth Capital of the World It is really interesting how popular the internet and cybercafes are as a social medium there. They also have a huge following of online game players, with over 70% of broadband users playing online. For me, the best quote about the business opportunities that have sprung up is '(We) wanted to focus on interaction. And what is more interactive than games? We made this market. We made new sectors. American media companies were just using online capacity to distribute offline media.'"
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Net-Nexus Seoul

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  • Starcraft (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I dont know if anyone has any links to this but, Starcraft is like a cultural icon over there. I remember seeing a pic of a doritos bag w/ a hydralisk on it somewhere :0
  • Ratings (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ZaneMcAuley ( 266747 )
    "The government has even set up a certification program to rate buildings based on the quality of their data lines"

    Where I am all appartments are cable ready, you dont need to ask. Next will be the trains, planes, etc...

    Elsewhere (UK *COUGH*), its a joke, if they had data ratings built into the prices of accomodation then maybe more rollout would be done. After all you want the largest price for accomodation right?

    I can imagine me asking a landlord in the UK "Is it cable ready", he would laugh at me. Here, they say "Dont be stupid, ofcourse it is".

    • Out of interest, is there such a map like a demographic map, but in this case, a DATAgraphic map showing data connections and speeds etc.

      One with the entire world, and where you can view specific regions?
    • Re:Ratings (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      The fact that Korea's wired is due in large part to this one guy who was able to talk the conglomerates and the government into creating a huge deposits of fiber optic centered around Taejon in preparation for the Taejon Expo held in 1993.

      I worked with him for a few months and we put in TONS of fiber underground. Everyone, including me, thought he was nuts. Many people continued to think he was nuts because the fiber lay dark for a long time. But now, in retrospect, I think he was way ahead of his time.

      The fiber was never used during the Expo (if it was, I never knew about it). And a few years later, it was written off, forgotten about - that is, completely paid for. It was ridiculously cheap to use the connection and Korea's telecom companies began using it like crazy circa 1996.

      By end of 1998, I noticed that Korea was one of the most as well as best wired country in the world. Even during the worst of the IMF financial crisis, fast Internet connection was already considered a necessity by most people.

      The Internet bust slowed things down a bit, but now three things are bringing Internet to the forefront and accelerating the fiber usage again:

      1. Japan is in limbo
      2. About a dozen money-sucking conglomerates have been shut down, so there's more money for startups and regular consumers. These two groups spend money like crazy - on Internet and wireless stuff like 3G Internet ready handphones
      3. World Cup pried open many closed doors in Korea, prompting them to connect internationally, and fast.

      Things are pretty dead here in Silicon Valley and I can't help but think about how exciting it must be to be alive in Korea right now.

      If any of you have any potential endeavors in Korea, requiring a bilingual, bicultural, experienced network administrating Korean American, drop me a line at sosurim63@yahoo.com

      • This is the sort of lesson that we all should remember, and REPEAT to political people when we talk with them. No, we may not see the need for infrastructure investment right now, but when you make the investment, people are able to use the resulting infrastructure in ways we don't even apprehend right now.

        It reminds me of the parable of casting bread upon the waters...
    • "The government has even set up a certification program to rate buildings based on the quality of their data lines"

      Now if only they could certify their servers and network admins. Most of the school servers in Korea seem to be installed from the same busted Linux distro with open proxies for spamming.

      A few weeks ago I had a real problem trying to report an open proxy server on .. the firewall for the South Korean Naval Headquarters! (Yeesh!)

  • It's crazy (Score:2, Interesting)

    by maynard-lag ( 235813 )
    I was there for a few months this past spring. It's true, Seoul is *very* connected. People are crazy over there, spending 8+ hours a day/night playing games. Diablo 2 is particularly popular over there. Man.. so many wasted hours I had over there. It's a different culture, not as many people own their own pc's, you go to an internet cafe instead. It's definitely different.
  • They are here too. In Annandale Virginia, a highly concentrated Korean population has brought the PC Baang to America. I know of at least 10 in the area - and the costs are very low - like $2 per hour of pc time.
  • Also... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Izanagi ( 466436 )
    Don't forget the SPAM!
  • No wonder they send and relay so much spam. They have the bandwidth to burn. There's even a DNSBL just for Korea: http://korea.services.net/

  • I know some Germans who play Starcraft online. They hate playing the Koreans because they are so good at the game. Stands to reason that they'd do just has well at other games...

    IMHO, as per

    J:)
  • legion is the biggest mmorpg in south korea. something like 10% of the country plays. in addition to the enormous amounts of time people play (on average, 20 hours a week) "player killers" also get beaten up in "rl".
    that's messed up.

  • by DarkHelmet ( 120004 ) <mark AT seventhcycle DOT net> on Thursday July 11, 2002 @07:05PM (#3867665) Homepage
    All that bandwidth and gaming and stuff... I'm reminded of the matrix for some reason. All that computing power. On the virge of turning against us...

    Wow... I always wondered where all those human bodies encased in slime REALLY were.

    I guess we're all really encompassed in goo somewhere in Korea. It's okay...

    I would have preferred Thailand for all the cheap sex when I decide to take the red pill and wake up, but I can live.

    • -1, didn't read article.

      the whole point was that kids go to baangs to play games, and it's not a solitary experience. being with other people is where it's at.
  • by Edmund Blackadder ( 559735 ) on Thursday July 11, 2002 @07:07PM (#3867675)
    they want to keep the condition where they talk and the others listen.

    I think the reason is that american media is the largest creator of content in the world, and they are affraid of losing that.

    So they try to keep hirarchical distribution networks.

    A Korean cable network would probably not care what is going trough their cables, as long as people are paying.

    In the us timewarner has a shitload of tv channels, movies, etc to push trough their cables, so they do care.

    Also in the us, while almost every building is cable ready, there are only a few cable companies that are monopolies and provide pretty mediocre internet service.
    • It's the whole issue with change. The companies with a lot to lose (ie, the ones in power) resist, while companies with nothing to lose (ie, the underdogs) embrace new tech with a vengance. They key to survival is to build a market while the old guard are still assessing the threat. In the US, the old guard have gotten better at dealing with threats over the years, hence the heavy emphasis on legislation as their bludgeon of choice.

      The rest of the world better be damn careful of what treaties their politicians sign with the WTO, or else they may be getting a visit from US lawyers, applying formerly US only draconian IP laws to everyone else (shudder)...
    • "Sure I want to be the biggest telecom company in the world, but it's just a commodity. I want to be able to form opinion.

      By controlling the pipe, you can eventually get control of the content."

      -IDT chairman Howard Jonas

      (IDT is an enormous Telco).
    • Actually no. American media companies really want to keep the internet free of people who say:

      1. "huk"!
      2. "Please give me item I beginner"!
      3. "^_^"

      And believe me, everyone but the koreans are grateful.
  • Just check out any Asian-American community in almost any big city in the US, cyber-gaming places are pretty big, though not has huge as over there in Korea. It's usually just the standard type games, RTS and FPS stuff.

    It sorta reminds me how arcades used to be in the old days...just a big hangout place for kids. Check it out sometime.

  • by Otter ( 3800 ) on Thursday July 11, 2002 @07:11PM (#3867708) Journal
    In the last paragraph, she kind of hints at what I was wondering for the last couple of pages:

    She makes a big deal about the country's great bandwidth. But it seems like the big selling point involves real-world interaction -- playing games and hooking up in baangs, playing games and hooking up with people in other baangs. As she describes it, it's the social scene that's gelled around computer clusters that's important. (Sort of like pre-Internet CS clusters, except with much more attractive people.)

    So, maybe providing bandwidth to the home is a dead end and it's developing cybercafes that's the key to a computer-centric culture?

    (I've really got to visit Korea one of these days. I've changed planes in Kimpo plenty of times but never went outside. The biggest impression the country made on me was when I was watching a "Good Morning America" type show and the Katie Couric-ish host modeled the season's new thong bikinis. That was an adrenaline shot at 7 am, after a 12 hour flight.)
    • So, maybe providing bandwidth to the home is a dead end and it's developing cybercafes that's the key to a computer-centric culture?
      I think one of the big differences that "westerners" have to realize is that Asian homes are typically much smaller than "ours," which encourages going out to do things. Most people cannot really entertain in their homes, so they go to a restaurant to entertain their friends. It's a different culture...

      That said, broadband has REALLY failed in Asia to the home. Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea... they all have fiber to the basement, with impressive video-on-demand offerings, but... it isn't that successful.

      Compare to the US. While there are social connections that make us want to go to the bar, restaurant, whatever... we tend to live in a much less dense urban environment. Is the bottom line that you are willing to pay more to do something out of the house than you are "just" at home?
      • Also, dating creates a big niche for businesses. High schools heavily discourage flirting, chatting and touching (at least in Japan, probably in Korea as well) and most single adults live with their parents. There's a huge market for places where singles can meet and get to know each other, and where couples can get some privacy.

        I'm not suggesting that cybercafes and gaming centers could succeed in the US the way they seem to have in Korea -- just wondering what will get lost as a result.
        • High schools heavily discourage flirting, chatting and touching (at least in Japan, probably in Korea as well) and most single adults live with their parents. Korea? Japan? Both of these seem pretty prevalent in the U.S. The former more than the latter, though.
      • I think that's a good point. When I can pry myself away from the computer, I go to a bar or pool hall with friends. Americans still interact, just not in front of a computer to the extent that the Koreans do.
    • So, maybe providing bandwidth to the home is a dead end and it's developing cybercafes that's the key to a computer-centric culture?

      I'd like to see cybercafes with better atmosphere. I may be deprived, but I'm used to the ones with the cream walls and plastic seats (you know what I mean).

      What we need are cyber-lounges with high end PCs (w. games and high bandwith net etc) in a chilled out setting. With a vast array of caffinated beverages at the bar (:
    • I was down travelling in Malaysia and Singapore just a few months ago. There probably werent as many cybercafe's as in Korea, but you can bet they weren't hard to find. I actually went into one and noticed tonnes of illegal applications installed from CD's people just grab from other friends or from nightmarkets. It's probably worthwhile to note that this booming cyberculture is in part largely due to the fact that their software is nearly free down there as law enforcement rarely checks on these types of things. In one night market I would probably run into 10 - 15 different stalls all selling CD's with a plethora of applications and games for dirt cheap prices. No wonder cybercafe's are booming down there, here any cafe to reach sucess using illegal will eventually be shut down. Purchasing enough games and software to run a decent cafe (not just plain web browsing) wouldn't make it very difficult to achieve any level of profitability.
    • We got a new international airport now located in nearby Incheon (ICN). It is supposedly the largest airport in the world, at the moment.
  • by peterdaly ( 123554 ) <petedaly&ix,netcom,com> on Thursday July 11, 2002 @07:12PM (#3867714)
    I've always wondered what country could possible have enough bandwidth to send out the amount of Asian spam I get each day. Gotta love Mozilla...it actually shows up with the right character set.

    -Pete
    • My two domains get about ~500 pieces of spam every day. Not a huge number as such things go, but sizeable given the number of active email addresses in them.

      About 20% of those come from or are routed from open relays in .kr domains. Korea has a huge open relay problem, more so than, say, China.

      The other big chunks of spam come from .cn, .ru, .es domains, mostly. The rest comes from US or european domains. At some point I was getting a ton of spam from Romania as well. Of course, there's always the US spammer relaying through these domains.

      It's been a while since I analyzed this stuff though, so these numbers are probably not valid any more. I got tired of studying spam.

  • Those futuristic movie scenes where there's a PC in every corner... people doing everything through a computer screen. It's coming, and it's happening in Asia first.

    What I think is amazing is the sense of community they've managed to maintain.

    Of course, now I understand those stories where Korean kids kill each other on the streets because the other guy stole their Magick Mistery Flamethrower Wand. Or something.

  • Bandwidth capital of the world, eh? Maybe that explains why I had to resort to filtering EVERYTHING from .kr out of my email. No, I didn't read the article, but I just love the quote, "American media companies were just using online capacity to distribute offline media."
  • I was just in Korea to watch the World Cup. I couldn't believe how wired Seoul was. People who think the San Francisco Bay Area is wired haven't been to Seoul recently.

    Seoul has some insanely large amount internet cafes with super-speedy boxes and nice, flat crt's that cost about $0.80/hr to use. Seoul also has Webvan-like services that can do same-day delivery if you order early enough in the day.

    And everyone I met seemed to have a cable modem at home. And I can't even count the number of times I saw some mom-and-pop restaurant even in the outskirts of Seoul sporting the URL for their homepage on their business sign.
  • by vkg ( 158234 ) on Thursday July 11, 2002 @07:24PM (#3867776) Homepage
    Later adopters of the technology, rather than sinking their Bux and building their models on the first, shitty generation of the technology, get the good stuff and then surpass the creators of the form.

    China, for example, has skipped landlines for phone service in a lot of areas, and gone straight to mobiles.

    We're going to see a lot more of this in the next decades, while America drowns under the weight of it's enormous, wasteful military budget (I'm not against a strong America, but I have worked for defense contractors and know the score here) and it's completely outdated model of global politics.
    • ...while America drowns under the weight of it's enormous, wasteful military budget...
      As far as "enormous" goes, the budget is pretty low [clw.org] compared to where it's been in the past. When you consider the budget as a percentage of GNP, it's even lower.

      And while evaluating the budget's "wasteful"ness, you should remember that a fair bit of the ~$280 billion we spend each year goes into R&D -- the same R&D that produced the Internet's predecessor, the ARPANET [isep.ipp.pt]. So at least some of the money is doing some good; the same goes for NASA's budget -- we get completely unexpected scientific discoveries out of directed research programs, that end up being incredibly useful. While other nations leapfrog past our initial technological advances... we discover new ones! And the cycle continues....

      • Yeah, well, the system worked very differently in the sixties and the seventies: the specification for the Blackbird was a single sheet of paper, as opposed to the specification for the C130 which filled six crates.

        Congressional pork pretty much destroyed what was once an incredibly efficient military production system.
        • Yeah, well, the system worked very differently in the sixties and the seventies:
          Actually, the 50s & 60s. Take fighters for example: in each of those decades we fielded half a dozen new fighters. By the end of the 60s, the DOD was being pushed hard to reduce spending. One way they tried was joint acquisitions, which they weren't quite ready for yet, witness the F-111 fiasco.
          the specification for the Blackbird was a single sheet of paper, as opposed to the specification for the C130 which filled six crates.
          I've never heard this anecdote, but it sounds about right, except for one minor detail. I think you mean the C-17. The C-130 is 10 years older than the SR-71.
    • Speaking of oligopolic defense contractors, they're merging Boeing's space and military divisions and kicking out the exec who was behind pushing unmanned planes. It seems that manned aircraft make Boeing more money, so that's what they're going to focus on providing to the US Govt.
      • Speaking of oligopolic defense contractors, they're merging Boeing's space and military divisions and kicking out the exec who was behind pushing unmanned planes. It seems that manned aircraft make Boeing more money, so that's what they're going to focus on providing to the US Govt.
        It doesn't matter what Boeing wants to sell the military, only what they're willing to buy. Talk to any military brass, and they see a future with much of the combat flying left to UAVs. They were already starting to head this direction anyway, but the recent operations in Afghanistan have convinced even the skeptics.
  • A friend of mine hangs out with "Grrr..." (top French Canadian profesional SC player). He's a huge star there... people recognise him walking down the street, and ask for autographs, etc. Let's hope the rest of the world catches up with Korea someday :)
  • Why doesn't Slashdot just save some front-page real estate and make a Wired SlashBox? Seems like every story except the letters section is featured here.

    I know it's a good mag...I have a subscription. I just didn't think they needed to be featured here all the freakin' time!
  • We wanted to focus on interaction. And what is more interactive than games? We made this market. We made new sectors. American media companies were just using online capacity to distribute offline media.

    I don't think I've heard anything as progressive and rational as this statement from any company in the US for a long, long time. Good stuff........
  • I am going to Seoul tomorrow for about 2 1/2 weeks. I'm very excited. It seems that getting access online is easier than Tokyo, London, and ANYWHERE in america. I wonder how the wireless networks are there, I'll be toting my iBook around and since SO MANY homes have high speed internet, I wonder how much free internet access I'll be getting. Anyone have experience?
  • There are also a handful of "love seat" stations, outfitted with two computers and a double-wide bench. Theoretically, this is so guys can play videogames while their girlfriends video-chat with pals.

    gawd... that is just SO wrong in so many ways.

    i mean, in a movie theatre, where you also do not communicate much, at least the two person have something in common that was shared, besides the snuggling and making out and the occational nobody-is-around-so-lets-get-down-and-dirty. but this is horrible. you might be sitting next to eachother but in reality the two of you are further apart than if i was chatting with my gf in morse code or campbells-cans-and-string

    besides that, there is the $$ issue. i am sure the love-stations costs more, but there seems hardly a point to it, since the exact same can be accomplished if the two person is sitting across the room, nay, across town from eachother.

    bah... maybe i am just used to the old method(s) of dating.

    • gawd... that is just SO wrong in so many ways.

      i mean, in a movie theatre, where you also do not communicate much, at least the two person have something in common that was shared, besides the snuggling and making out and the occational nobody-is-around-so-lets-get-down-and-dirty. but this is horrible. you might be sitting next to eachother but in reality the two of you are further apart than if i was chatting with my gf in morse code or campbells-cans-and-string..


      Ya know, I've been living in Korea for quite a while now...and I've NEVER seen these so-called 'love stations'..
      Don't worry, these aren't orthodox. I've never seen one, never heard of anyone using one- infact, the first time I heard about these 'dating' devices was on this article.

      Although people DO chat online ALOT in pc-baangs using cameras attached to comp. monitors, its very rare that anyone would actually leave their pc-baang to visit some other unknown person..

      Another reason pc-baangs are popular is because of the networks..cmon, when you have ten friends all wanting to beat each other at SC or Diablo II or whatnot (Sadly, Korean gamers don't play CS), its much, much more easier and faster to just go to a nearby pcbaang, pay 80cents for an hour, and play with your friends-
      instead of having to go online at home and go online and call each other, set up connections, etc etc.

      If there's one thing that I'd consider convenient but unnecessary, in Korea, it would be ordering pizza online from Pizza Hut. [pizzahut.co.kr]
  • I think Amsterdam is more appropriate... shouldn't the porn capitol of the world be the place with the most bandwidth??
  • by vergil ( 153818 ) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .bligrev.> on Thursday July 11, 2002 @07:58PM (#3867931) Homepage Journal
    in the summer of '99, after flying Korean Air in from Jakarta. I showed up at a surprisingly sanitary $10-night youth hostel w/ no knowledge of the Korean language or culture (even though I'm 1/2 Korean).

    After wandering around the city, I found a well-stocked Internet cafe that sold decent coffee and fairly decent cigarettes (Mild Sevens). The per-hour price wasn't bad, and it wasn't exactly difficult to master the Korean language keyboards. This particular cafe was classy, boasting a waxed wood floor and decorative plants. The drop-down Windows "run" menus of its 3-4 PCs were full of Ivy League servers, vestiges of touring American bluebloods.

    Unfortunately, this particular cafe shuttered relatively early in the evening. Later in the night (when I wasn't occupied w/ meetings), I'd frequent an entirely different sort of Internet cafe accessible through a alleyway door and a staircase. This dim, windowless cafe was crammed wall-to-wall with high end PCs -- almost all manned by a stooped Korean teens mesmerized by StarCraft. For some reason, the beefy proprietor always waved away my cash, never accepting any of my proferred payment.

    I haven't thought about Korean Internet cafes (or posted to slashdot) for some time, until encountering this article. Good to be back, and props to the trollaxor crew.

    • I'm supposed to be in Seoul for a couple of weeks in August. I'll be staying at a campus that's been wireless since 1999 so it should be pretty cool. The people I'm going to be there with have been before, so they're promising me lots of great sites, etc.

      Me, my camera and my (wireless) laptop for two weeks in Korea - this should be a fun time :)
  • [insert joke about West Virginia here]

    Last year, Verizon laid down 20,500 miles of optical fiber in West Virginia alone. This fact doesn't make the Korean information infrastructure any less impressive. But the country does have an easier job on its hands than say, Indonesia, or the Philippines, or Mexico.

    This is a bit off-topic, but this quote got me to thinking: surely the cost is prohibitive for laying down cable over such great distances......and they traverse public lands, too......do we, as taxpayers, help foot the bill for this infrastructure? And if not, WHY not? This is vital infrastructure just as highways and power lines are, and really shouldn't be completely controlled by the "evil" mega-companies. And if we do, then I guess the gov't gets to regulate these physical networks, and the public can likewise make certain demands on it, since it would be "our" property?

    • do we, as taxpayers, help foot the bill for this infrastructure? And if not, WHY not? This is vital infrastructure just as highways and power lines are, and really shouldn't be completely controlled by the "evil" mega-companies.
      Power and phone lines in the US aren't taxpayer funded (thank God). They're owned and run by corporations, and paid for by user fees.

      I don't want the government to mismanage anything else. They're already overreaching the powers granted in the Constitution.
  • "Sure I want to be the biggest telecom company in the world, but it's just a commodity. I want to be able to form opinion.

    By controlling the pipe, you can eventually get control of the content."

    - IDT chairman Howard Jonas
  • by Vegan Pagan ( 251984 ) <deanas@eTOKYOarthlink.net minus city> on Thursday July 11, 2002 @08:38PM (#3868111)
    This article describes something that could happen in USA: A revival of arcades based on broadband.

    One of the major appeals of arcades was that they let you play on technology more powerful than anything at home, with your friends, for as little as 25 cents. They steadily lost that advantage in the 1990s until they got to today's point where home games are MORE powerful, and arcades games cost 50c to $1 per play.

    But what if they got that advantage back? What if arcades were based on broadband? I've noticed that in USA broadband is far more likely to be set up in large buildings and institutions than in homes. And when it does become popular in homes, the standard connection for large organizations might jump ahead again.

    I'd like to see broadband arcades where you could play with people in the same room and people hundreds of miles away at the same time! And of course it would allow for voice chat, and maybe videophoning as well. The arcade owner would only have to install hardware and software once: The cabinet/cocpit itself would auto-update software forever after. And it should cost have a reasonable cost, the way arcades used to.

    Would you go?
  • When something like this is gonna penetrate the US/EU market. I for one would love a wired cafe with instant noodles, drinks, games and like minded ppl where you can surf, game, mail and ssh to my servers to code

    I mean ppl who love football have hangouts, ppl who love cars have hangouts, etc.. When is the computer loving part of the world gonna get over their nerd-stigmata, and hang out as well? ;-)

    If anyone is setting something like this up in Amsterdam (NL), letme know, ill be a regular
  • There is quite a large discrepancy between the US and Europe in terms of mobile coverage and use. In Europe the fact that I don't have a landline (Mobile and Cable) is not special or out of the ordinary. Mobile coverage is almost 100% across the continent. And it boils down to one thing really: Standards. I think in the US you have three competeing standards. Here in Europe it's just GSM(slowly GPRS as well). In Korea they don't have game consoles and everything is standardised on the PC (did they pay MS for all the licences?).

    Not that I have anything against competition, but sometimes one does wonder if it wouldn't just be easier to skip the competition thing.
    • In Europe the fact that I don't have a landline (Mobile and Cable) is not special or out of the ordinary. Mobile coverage is almost 100% across the continent. And it boils down to one thing really: Standards. I think in the US you have three competeing standards. Here in Europe it's just GSM(slowly GPRS as well).
      I don't think that's the biggest factor. There are two reasons I think are more important than standards:

      South Koreans are early adopters of new technology. I lived in South Korea from 96-98. Before I moved there from CA, not many people had cell phones. However, everybody walking around in Korea had a cell phone, a much higher percentage than the US even today.

      The US had lots of infrastructure already in place. It was common even 15 years ago for American households to have 2 or more landlines. My sister was on the phone so much as a teenager, my parents forced her to help pay for her own line.

      I think competing standards are a good thing. Let the market sort it out.

  • the difference (Score:4, Insightful)

    by alizard ( 107678 ) <.alizard. .at. .ecis.com.> on Thursday July 11, 2002 @09:43PM (#3868404) Homepage
    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.

    This is the most important part of the article, how they did it.

    This has been done in the USA in a few places. A few lucky people have cheap fiber optic to the curb thanks to their local/regional municipal power companies. Their prices are comparable to South Korea's. This isn't happening here because in most states, the cable and telcos have bought legislatures to prevent this from providing their current customers with superior competition.

    In the past, companies located next to cheap resources, mainly power and raw materials. In the future, companies will be looking for cheap broadband data access. South Korea will be one of these places.

    The cities and rural areas with public power who have sense enough to leverage this into broadband public data access will be the hypergrowth areas in the future.

    That growth will come at the expense of the areas whose people allow themselves to be governed by tards whose law-making capability is at the disposal of the highest bidder.

    "People always get the local governments they deserve."
    E.E. "Doc" Smith

  • It is indeed nice to know that seoul is wired so well. What appeals the most is the fact that most of the people dont have pcs at home. A nice way, I guess for people to get together. Earlier we had dance parties , no we have gaming parties ;) cheers to seoul
    • Re:cheers to seoul (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Provolo ( 591760 )
      What appeals the most is the fact that most of the people dont have pcs at home.

      Not really...Pc-rooms aren't popular simply because of the fact that people don't have PCs at home-many people do, and in many, many cases I've seen people go out and play at pc-rooms rather than just playing at home-despite their p4 PCs and DSL broadband connection.

      Its not the lack of PCs, or services, or anything that makes pc-rooms addictive-its the culture.
      I mean, aside from geeks, who has two net-connected computers in their home? One thing alot of people should understand, is that not too many people go to pc-rooms alone-its a social place.
      A pc-baang doesn't replace the computers Koreans have at home- it complements 'em.
      • Yes indeed, I was driving at the same point. What is interesting is that technology in the form of broadband is helping nurture the already strong social ties. Unlike in few other situations wherein PCs are a way to isolate oneself (this of course does not include the geeks ;) )
  • by wuchang ( 524603 )
    I just got back from Seoul. The thing about Korea is that it is mostly mountanous and has a sparse amount of land for living on. Since land is so valuable, there are really NO suburbs in Korea. Most people live in high-density urban areas inside cookie-cutter 15-30 story apartment complexes. Getting broadband to the masses is EASY over there since the masses are piled into a small number of densely populated areas.

    On a semi-related note, one of the things that impressed me was that Korean companies are providing more interesting services to their customers. I went to one of the many high-tech Internet cafes run jointly with a cell phone company (i believe it was naver.com). Anyway, you buy cell phone service and it gets you in for free at all their Internet cafes. Besides having a load of PCs there, the one I went to had gaming-specific LANs, DDR video games, and even a private recording studio that let you do karaoke in a room with video cameras. At the end of the session, it even spit out a CD-R with a video recording of your session.

    The other thing I found funny....You can rent cell phones in Korea right when you land. This is typical because there are very few wired public phones in Korea these days as everyone has a cell phone.

  • No fucking shit! (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by Pig Hogger ( 10379 )
    Seoul, Korea and how it is The Bandwidth Capital of the World
    No fucking shit! It has to be, with all that spam!!!
  • I live in a part of Toronto known as 'Koreatown' (officially it's the Korean Business District) and there are currently 31 independently owned and operated Internet cafes in a 1 mile (approx.) strip. Almost all of them are open 24/7 and they are always busy. As an aside, there are also dozens of restaurants that are open late and serve huge portions at ridiculously low prices.

    For a geek, this is *the* place to live.

  • It's very nice to portray South Korea as a techies' paradise, but let's not forget the more than 50 individuals languishing in jails there for the "crime" of being trade union activists.

    The unions in South Korea also use the net, and they use broadband and they have been doing cutting edge stuff on the net for years, including daily video webcasts. But while the society is all very 21st century, or so it appears, in reality the present government is one of the most repressive Korea has ever known.

    If you want to help use the new technology to support the imprisoned Korean trade unionists, go here: http://www.labourstart.org/actnow.shtml [labourstart.org]

    To learn more about repression of trade unionists in Korea, go here: http://www.kctu.org [kctu.org] or http://www.labourstart.org/korea/ [labourstart.org]

    I know from past experience that one is likely to get flamed on Slashdot for even mentioning trade unions, but I guess that's not much of a sacrifice compared to what the Korean trade unionists are going through . . .

  • When I used to play Red Alert 2, I remember almost literally every second player was Korean. However I'm in Australia and the fact there is a reasonable ping time between Korea and Oz may have been a factor as I was less likely to play against people with a high ping time to me.
  • So I was thinking that it would be cool to start one... Does anyone know how they would actually set up the PCs to minimize people's screwing up the system?

    Would you set up a real windows network, and give everyone a login? Would you pre-install the most popular games and apply all patches yourself? How would you prevent them from installing stuff that would screw up the machine, while still allowing them to download plug-ins for IE, etc...

    I assume that this stuff would actually be pretty easy, but I'm not sure how to do it...
  • And what is more interactive than games?

    Actually, sex is considerably more interactive than games, but these guys wouldn't know...
  • So where is slashdot.kr? The one in Japan has very few posts -- one in Korea might be much more popular...

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