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South Korea Plans National 100 Mbps Network 449

prostoalex writes "Korean Ministry of Information and Communication is planning to wire the entire country with high-speed 50-100 Mbps network. A total of $80.4 billion will be spent on the project that's expected to be completed in 2010."
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South Korea Plans National 100 Mbps Network

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  • Year 2010? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sydneyfong ( 410107 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2003 @01:39AM (#7508701) Homepage Journal
    You mean when "high speed" isn't high anymore?
    • Re:Year 2010? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by rolocroz ( 625853 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2003 @01:43AM (#7508725)
      How very true. 7 years ago, the 1.5 Mbps connections that are commonplace today even in home cable modems seemed ludicrous for anything residential. By 2010, will 100 Mbps really seem all that fast? Granted, that's a pretty damn high increase relative to today, but will it really seem all that fast by then?
      • Indeed, one wonders why they don't go with fibre, or 1000Mpbs networking. In 7 years, 100Mbps may be the equivilent to dial-up.

        However, the flipside is that if nobody else is installing even 100Mbps for future considerations, won't they still be ahead of the game in 2010 unless some new technology emerges to use on the existing networks/infrastructure?
        • by ahfoo ( 223186 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2003 @03:55AM (#7509172) Journal
          No, it won't be obsolete quickly by any means. The reason is similar to why Pentium systems above 200Mhz don't go obsolete, they're sufficient for audio and video which makes them entertainment devices rather than strictly computing devices. People often keep televisions and radios for decades.
          100Mbps is fast enough to stream not just full bitrate Mp3s, but decent quality video as well. So, it might not be the fastest forever, but it won't be obsolete for a long time.
      • Re:Year 2010? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by tgt ( 599351 )
        Unless the nature of the Internet content changes, there is no need in gigabits.

        Even with 10 MBit you can download MP3s faster, than you can listen to them. 100 MBit gives you a few parallel DVD-quality feeds. I mean - end-users may want to d/l all the Internet in a snap, but of what value is it to them ?

        Sure, if means to transfer something bigger, ex. teleporting over Internet (TOI) that need 10G per typical human are discovered, then yes, you'll need a bigger pipe.
      • Re:Year 2010? (Score:3, Insightful)

        At least they'll have that then.

        In the UK, NTL have spent millions cabling homes up and it's mostly copper and has a maximum of about 2mbps IIRC.

        I imagine in the UK, we'll still have about 2mbps unless someone comes up with a wizzo way of improving the phone likes like they did with ADSL.

    • I'm sure the koreans are not that stupid, wiring everything with 100mbit meaning they'll probably put cat5 cables with 8 wires, which means the transition to 1000mbit will be easy.
      And when in 2010 a korean kid will packet you with a 1gb connection, we'll see who's laughing.
      By the way, i'm not korean.
      • Re:Year 2010? (Score:2, Interesting)

        by cfallin ( 596080 )
        they'll probably put cat5 cables with 8 wires, which means the transition to 1000mbit will be easy.

        Ethernet over CAT5 is restricted to 100m of cable between repeaters, so something tells me that they're not using copper Ethernet for a wide-area network. It's most likely fiber. However - I don't know much about fiber, but presumably upgrades would be even easier then (as long as you have the right type of fiber).
        • by Frymaster ( 171343 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2003 @03:03AM (#7509033) Homepage Journal
          Ethernet over CAT5 is restricted to 100m of cable between repeaters

          it's a small country...

        • Re:Year 2010? (Score:5, Informative)

          by djupedal ( 584558 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2003 @03:41AM (#7509136)

          And if it weren't for NDA's, I could say more about how a certain large tech company (Samsung) is helping. I can at least point out that the new south Korean govt. has as it's IT Chief, the past and very successful Samsung President, Daeje Chin [].

          The country also is working to have full nationwide wireless network coverage by the end of next year. Cell phones can hop on when they can't make a decent connection, and computers can hop onto the cell net when a wireless access point isn't available. Right now, it's working and free in many locations, such as the new airport.
    • Re:Year 2010? (Score:2, Insightful)

      Think of a T3 pipe now. 45 Mbps. Blazing fast.

      Now think of 100 Mbps by 2010 - more bandwidth than two T3s - for everybody in South Korea.

      Not bad in just over 5 years. Especially now, when the majority of people here in the U.S. are still on dialup connections.

  • by hashinclude ( 192717 ) <(moc.edulcnihsah) (ta) (todhsals)> on Wednesday November 19, 2003 @01:41AM (#7508716) Homepage
    If there is a wired rollout, there would probably already be tons of dark fiber between all central exchanges. Why not just wire them onwards to consumers' homes?

    This give better speeds to your neighbour (which is always the nearest "mirror"), and have CableTV, Voice and Data services all integrated onto the same little strand of glass | plastic that comes to my house.

    • by chill ( 34294 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2003 @02:06AM (#7508830) Journal
      Why not just wire them onwards to consumers' homes?

      Because Fast Ethernet switches are chump change, and fiber switches cost more than many people's houses.

      Optical switches are designed for backbones, not connecting everyone and their dog. DWDM, Sonet and ATM don't easily (or affordably) scale out to many-2-many connections.
      • Because Fast Ethernet switches are chump change, and fiber switches cost more than many people's houses.

        Are they expensive for any reason other than that not many people buy them, though? Like DVD players were pretty expensive at day 1, and cost less than a McDonalds Happy Meal now.

  • Dammit! (Score:4, Funny)

    by TheWhaleShark ( 414271 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2003 @01:45AM (#7508732) Journal
    As if those Zerg weren't fast enough already...
  • by randall_burns ( 108052 ) <> on Wednesday November 19, 2003 @01:46AM (#7508735)
    This is an interesting approach to infrastructure. Now, the next question: how will this approach affect Korea's economic development? What types of businesses will get located in Korea specifically to because of the ubiquitous availability of this type of infrastructure? How will the universal availability of broadband affect Korea's land use of development patterns? Will folks still commute via cars? Will factories start to become remote controlled?
    • by Cokelee ( 585232 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2003 @01:54AM (#7508780)
      This infrastructure will require amazing redundancy to truly maintain 50-100 Mbps throughout the country. If companies move server farms and whatnot to Korea, imagine the impact on the existing network. Obviously to maintain the said infrastructure it would require more money - and who's going to pay? And then the situation becomes what is the bandwidth coming out of the country? Fast bandwidth is not easy.
      • by ahfoo ( 223186 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2003 @04:09AM (#7509203) Journal
        It sounds like what you really mean is you've bought the US corporate mantra about bandwidth must cost. Actually it doesn't have to cost much at all per/mb in an all IP infrastrucuture. US telecoms have no motivation to go there. They would prefer to buy expensive non IP solutions and come up with the most absurd reasons to justify what is really an attempt to keep competitors out.
        As for redundancy. Why would you suggest that it's difficult or expensive to build a redundant fast ethernet network?
        And I'm really impressed with these sour grapes comments about what would anybody need that much bandwidth for. A lot of creativity going on here to explain why the US is falling behind without touching on the key point that free markets are only good at allocating scarce resources, they choke on abundance and we are entering an age of abundance. So. . .
    • Will more Koreans get first post, before even your hastily scribed ditty?
  • I know it sounds like a lot now, with 1.5 to 3 Mbps being the closer to the norm for broadband here, but if you're going to build an infrastructure for an entire country by 2010, why not build with the latest technologies? 1Gbps isn't exactly ground-breaking any more.

    Although, I suppose they've thought of this, and will lay fiber capable of much faster speeds, and just get cheap equipment rated for 50 to 100 Mbps. And I suppose 1+ Gbps EQ will be mcuh cheaper in 10 years..

    As I think it out, perhaps they
    • by chill ( 34294 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2003 @02:26AM (#7508899) Journal
      Cost and switch fabric.

      All these posts who talk about 1 Gbps and fiber aren't thinking it through. The difficulties and costs aren't associated with the cabling or end-point connections -- they're at the switch.

      1 Gbps is nice. Now pump an entire apartment unit with GE into the switch. What speed will the internal switch fabric have to support? Assume 200 apartment units, then that is in the neighborhood of 200 Gbps of switch fabric throughput. Consider most of the traffic will be going OUT of the building, the outside pipe will have to be something like an OC-48 ATM or 10-G ethernet connection.

      Now THAT switch, and 1,000 more like it, all feed into different switches and the problem multiplies.

      Think of the RAM buffers, latency and clock frequency that has to be maintained in the switch to handle 200 Gbps of thruput.

      Cisco's top of the line Catalyst 6500 series boasts:

      # 32-Gbps bus--Allowing access to a central shared bus
      # 256-Gbps switch fabric--Located on the switch fabric module (SFM)
      # 720 Gbps switch fabric--Located on Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series Supervisor Engine 720

      So you ARE pushing the edge with mass deployment of fast ethernet.

      Oh, yeah. Fully loaded 6513s run $100,000, easy.
  • They already own us. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bl1st3r ( 464353 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2003 @01:51AM (#7508761) Homepage Journal
    Throughout their country, they have true 10mbit connectivity for most of its citizens at roughly 13$ US per month. That is insanely awesome when you figure in the fact that here in the US, we pay around 45$ to get at best 2mbit connectivity that peaks out at right around 140k most of the time. And thats just downstream.

    While technology is increasing rapidly enough to make local network connectivity at extremely high speeds economically feasible for the first time, WAN technologies are still another story and lag behind by a few years. You still want dedicated 1.5mbit connectivity, you are STILL looking at around 800$+ dollars a month. (Key word being dedicated).

    Good for the S. Korea!
  • that's 12%... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ameoba ( 173803 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2003 @01:53AM (#7508771)
    If you look at the numbers [] their complete budget for 2000 was only $95.7 billion. Assuming it starts now & ends on time, without any cost overruns, we're looking at something like 12% of the government's spending going towards this project.

    That's some commitment to closing the 'digital divide'. Well, as long as they make reasonably affordable computers available to their citizens when this thing goes live.
    • It's actually quite a good investment. Think of what the freeway system did for the US. A good infrastructure will always pay off in the long run. For a 12 percent investment now, they might reasonably become Asia's economic leader in the next 40 years. Plus, to help them along even more, they'll get an influx of computer geeks like us looking for cheap broadband.
    • There are 43.5 million Koreans, so that's rather more money per household, i.e. per connection, and maybe not all of them would want to pay that much if they had a choice. Also, a high fraction of the Korean population live in large apartment buildings, where there's a huge economy of scale possible (which is why so many people there have 10 Mbps or other high-speed service.) There's also a lot of rural and mountainous country, where that kind of service may not be realistic.

      OK, maybe it is spread over fi

  • by MurrayTodd ( 92102 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2003 @01:54AM (#7508775) Homepage
    Okay, for those of you already piping in that this isn't as fast as it can get, I'd like to see your present hi-speed home access push far over 1 Mbit/sec. Nevertheless, this begs the question:

    In 2010 will 100 Mbits be considered fast or slow? Is there a "Moore's Law" for Internet access speeds? Back in about 1982 I was connecting to the local BBS with a 300 baud modem. A megabit download speed (today in 2003) is roughly 3000x that speed, and we're there after 20 years. That equates to almost exactly a 50% increase in speed per year. So if we go another 7 years at that rate, by 2010 we would consider 16 Mbit/sec to be fast.

    Okay. I'm envious.
  • by doctor_no ( 214917 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2003 @01:59AM (#7508799)
    NTT and other companies [] have already been offering 100Mbs fiberoptic lines to homes in Japan for quite awhile now.

    The best part is it's cheap,
    They usually cost a little more than $40 a month.

    Of course, it's still twice the price of 12Mbs ADSL lines in Japan like Yahoo BB [] who offers 12Mbs speed for $21/month. Most people don't know what to do with 100Mbs anyways.

    • What's shocking about this article isn't that S. Korea will be having 100Mbs 7 years from now, it's the $80billion cost.

      NTT also plans on having the entire of Japan connected with 100Mbs by 2010 as well. Even though the vast majority of the population already has 100mbs access.

      I'm not sure how much it's going to cost NTT, but I'm sure it's not $80billion even for a country geographically larger than S. Korea and with a larger population. Another difference is one company plans on undertaking the t
  • by Crolis ( 697068 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2003 @01:59AM (#7508802)
    ...and not to be out done, North Korean President Kim Jong Il has asserted that his country can compete with the decadent capitalist South by establishing the Socialist Communication Organization (SCO) to provide tin cans and string to 1 out of every 100 loyal members to the party.

  • by lnoble ( 471291 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2003 @02:01AM (#7508807)
    I can't believe they couldn't find a better use for all that money. High speed internet shouldn't be something that is critical in a nation that still needs much development in basic infastructure. For that much money in the US we could do so much it is beyond most people's comprehension.

    The only justification I see this having is the 370,000 new jobs, but how temporary are those jobs. Will most of them disapear after the system is put up and there is nothing left to build let alone money to build it with. To learn more about what we in the US could do with $80 billion(around what is being spent in Iraq go here []

    If we need it for such basic things I would think a less developed county would need it even more.
    • by Fulcrum of Evil ( 560260 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2003 @02:47AM (#7508973)

      For that much money in the US we could do so much it is beyond most people's comprehension

      For instance, we could wage a war of aggression against acountry that poses no threat to us.

    • Yeah, spend $80 billion to put some of it into the hands of your buddies in Halliburton.

      I guess Mugabe doesn't have any oil.

      PS Your president is in the UK at the moment. Your media might not report it, Tony Blair is way out of line on public opinion. Most of us think Bush is a liar and a crook.

      • Your media might not report it, Tony Blair is way out of line on public opinion. Most of us think Bush is a liar and a crook.
        That's not entirely true. Some numbers:

        43% of Britons welcome the Bushes trip.
        36% said they would rather not have him visit.

        But regardless, majority/minority opinion is useless here. Blair's position all along has been that his Iraq decision may well be unpopular but it is in fact the right thing to do both in terms of humanitarianly and politically. Public opinion oscillat
        • Having a Prime Minister who varies his views and policies based on the latest overnight tracking poll would not be very happy sight.

          You don't know much about Tony Blair, do you?

          As for Mugabe, he is doing what Bush and Blair are saying was a good reason for getting rid of Saddam - that he was torturing his people (note: they've dropped mentioning weapons).

          His rule is not weak, he is in control of the country - he has control of the government, press and courts. He is basically murdering people and no-o

    • Ahh.. the Senator from Ohio and a real live supporter.

      You know, I could almost think about looking at him seriously.. until..

      I heard him on the air on Talk of the Nation last week.

      After a few minutes of his typical stuff, the host asks him point blank: Do you believe in Evil?

      He literally hemmed and hawed for a bit, and decided that some people have different world views, and those different world views need understanding and insight to recognize and value properly.

      But his essential answer can th
    • by qcubed ( 655212 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2003 @08:15AM (#7509817) Homepage
      it may surprise you, but south korea is a rather modernized first-world nation. there are far too many cellphones, computers, cars, apartments with broadband connections, processed foods, televisions, radios, superhighways, paved roads, the whole country is electrified, has land lines, several airports, a modern banking system... don't confuse modern south korea with backwards north korea. just because you see that all koreans still farm with bulls instead of tractors, as evidenced by that recent james bond movie, doesn't mean that it's the truth.
  • 160 billion... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by burtonator ( 70115 )
    Bush has so far wasted 160 billion on Iraq...

    For that price we could have covered the entire country TWICE with 10Mbit Ethernet!

    It's all about perspective man!

    Down with Bush! Up with 100Mbit ethernet!
    • wtf. What country are you talking about? How the hell ? ? ? Do you know how large the US is? Do you realize the slight difference in land area ? ? ? Not to mention the problem of justifying such an idea with uneven population densities.
    • If this was to be done in the US, it can only be done to wire up urban centers (rural areas would not reap large economic benefits from an ethernet connection over, say, a satellite connection anyways)
  • Fiber to the Home. I wonder how this project compares to yesterday's story about FttH in Utah. And of course, will there be caps?

    In fact, that's something that I've often wondered when I hear about super high-speed connections in other countries (like 100MB DSL in Japan for ~$30 a month). Is it only in America where we've let the industry cripple the future potential of broadband in such and insidious manner? (i.e. offering connections that can't really be used w/o having to pay extra)

    • Here are your choices.
      1. Spend $30 a month for 56K dialup and get all the bandwidth you (and your ISP) pay for
      2. Spend $800 plus local loop cost for a T1 and get all the bandwidth you (and your ISP) pay for
      3. Spend $30 a month for a 1.5Mbps (or higher) DSL line, be able to burst up to full speed, sustain a reasonable throughput, and share bandwidth with everyone else.

      Your $30/month DS1-or-better speed xDSL line doesn't come close to paying your ISP's cost for that much bandwidth. Instead, you're sharing bandw

    • Is it only in America where we've let the industry cripple the future potential of broadband in such and insidious manner? (i.e. offering connections that can't really be used w/o having to pay extra)

      No, try New Zealand, where 90% of the broadband is delivered via the incumbent's ISP [].

      With traffic costs at $130 USD/Gigabyte of traffic, you have nothing to complain about in the US.

      I do believe in paying for traffic - just read "The Tradegy of the Commons" and you will too, but I think the rate should be m
  • Advantage of a small country. . . .
  • I have to wonder if download/upload limits will be enforced on this system. Think of what we get in the US with many cable ISPs and especially college connections: high speed, as long as you barely use it at all. There are 2-3 GB/month limits, in some places. Or, perhaps, they could charge by usage instead of offering a flat rate.

    (There's no mention of this in the article, so perhaps they haven't decided yet.)
  • Easy! (Score:2, Interesting)

    When you are that small it is easy to do things like that. I wish there was some way to get this here in the US.
  • by nysus ( 162232 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2003 @03:11AM (#7509051)
    The only way the US got a telephone into everyone's house in the US was to make it a policy. The same goes for electricity.

    As long as we American remain blinded to the possibility that government is good for something, we're going to remain forever a society of technological haves and have nots just like they have in the third world nations.

    Also, this country pays $400,000,000,000 dollars each and every year for the military. That's over 20% of our annual budget. And after the Iraq war this year, it's probably closer to $600,000,000,000. It's quite astonishing to me that there is absolutely zero national debate about the size of our budget. We could have this entire country wired up in no time if are priorities were straight.

    • by silentbozo ( 542534 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2003 @03:31AM (#7509111) Journal
      All you would need to have a public debate about the annual budget would be to draft a law making tax withholding illegal. Thus, on April 15th, millions of taxpayers would suddenly realize that the government wants them to fork over tens of thousands of dollars, and that half of the time they spend at work is going to fund whatever pork-barrel special interest is delivering the votes to the politicos.

      At that point, we'd have a very sudden turnover in our elected officials, and some reasonable policies concerning what we spend our money on, and how much we take out of each taxpayer's pocket to do so. Come on, do we really need MORE subsidies to grow corn, just so we can turn it into mash and make ethanol out of it? What about subsides to build a $20 billion dollar giant natural gas pipeline from Alaska... to Illinois? Even MORE money for the already giant auto conglomerates so they can do more "research" on hydrogen fueled cars (just as they did "research" on electric cars in the 80's).

      Make withholding illegal, and that will be the sparking point for the next American revolution. And it's about time - I'm tired of special interests picking my pockets with Uncle Sam's blessings.
  • by puzzled ( 12525 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2003 @03:45AM (#7509147) Journal
    I'm amazed at the number of poor posts that get moderated up whenever there is a telecom related article.

    I just scanned through the two dozen that made a +3 or better so far and I'm astonished at the number of poor assumptions about physics, economics, network operations, and life in general.

    The physics was the most egregious of the bunch and I think everyone who is smart enough to navigate far enough to see this *should* understand, but I can't resist brushing some of the others.

    Moore's law is just an observation - its *NOT* a law. Why is someone applying this to available circuit speeds for WAN access? WAN access lines are very expensive and thusly that ground has been throughly worked by every telco equipment vendor - copper pairs are good for a about 2 mbits at the typical distance between a home/office and a CO, the next step up is DS3 delivered on coax (low loss, damned expensive compared to copper, and fiber refits in existing areas are crazy expensive. If it was possible high value DS3s filled with 672 voice channels would be the first thing going on some new wonder technology - this isn't happening, ergo it doesn't exist.

    And why are they making statements like "100 mbit stuff is cheap on ebay, just build a national network out of it". Ethernet is a *LAN* protocol - 300' limit in most cases for copper, Cisco 2950-LRE are only good for a few thousand(hint, long reach ethernet == DSL), and who would want to manage a pile of crap from ebay? The number one expense in any network operation is almost certainly payroll and a crapola network guarantees 127% of revenue will be spent unfornicating it. If you want reliable service you pay for reliable gear. Once in a while you get lucky on the cheap but no business big enough to do a neighborhood size rollout would fool around like that, let alone a big telecom organization.

    It seems to me the underpinnings of many of those posts are pure emotion coupled with a sense of entitlement - J Random /. Reader has a ADSL line and got lucky with no neighbors using outflow bandwidth and an ISP that doesn't care (yet), so therefor any nonsensesical pronouncement that would lead to the whole world having a service that now costs $5,000/month being provided to them for $21.95 makes perfect sense.

    Mod me brilliant, mod me troll - the opinions of the readers are foolish and the moderators deserve a timeout for promoting such crap.

  • Look at the cases of the phone systems in Britain and Argentina when they were in a system of a welfare state (pre-Thatcher)..

    So not only will the tech be outdated by the time they finish half of the rollout, but getting a repair to your line that got cut by someone digging for a new building will take 2 years at least...

    Generally it's best to let private industry manage the "commanding heights" in an economy (power, transportation, infrastructure). History has proven this time and again.
  • by onelin ( 116589 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2003 @04:00AM (#7509182)
    I'm not going to get into whether or not the country should spend that much money on the network when it has many other problems, but...

    People saying 100Mbps won't be fast in 7 years? Screw that. If you think we'll have even 1/10th of that in even 1% of the US in 2010 you're out of your mind. Huge areas of the nation don't even have 56k-capable telephone lines, let alone broadband. This won't change until it's profitable for the businesses to do otherwise. Monopolies own all the lines, and there is no government incentive. There won't be, either. (Which is good and bad)

    I've got 1.5Mbps right now, with planned 3Mbps in a year or so. I've only had it for a few months. I don't see it going up much more by then, considering how long it took me to get above dialup...and certainly not to or above 100Mbps. Hell I bet 20Mbps will be a lot in 7 years if you live in the states and we're talking average residential internet speeds. Same goes for globally.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    traffic map [] of polish educational backbone. 10 gbit/s in most cities.
  • by qcubed ( 655212 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2003 @08:40AM (#7509877) Homepage
    this 100mbit connection is not for the network backbone. south korea's network backbone is already in the gigabit range: (flash) ml although it's written in korean, the four things you see in the center are the national switches which also connect korea to the world. this 50-100mbit connection is planned to be the average connection for the home user; average, in a country where the basic connection is around 2mbit. this does not preclude private companies from offering faster home connections.
  • by 2010?!?!?! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by atheken ( 621980 )
    Just in time to be obsolete!

  • In the 50's, 60's and 70's we were ahead of the game with transportation and housing. We built one of the best transportation systems in the world. Over the last 30 years we have seen our infrascture start to decay and now we find ourselves scrambling to find something new to carry us. The 90's were bad for the economy but semi-decent for technology itself in the US.

    Now in 00's, 10's and 20's the asian infastructure is going to be networks and technology. South Korea doing this project and China going to s

Houston, Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has landed. -- Neil Armstrong