Tuesday 16 October 2007

Korea! The new leader of Digital World

I didnt realise how big Korea (South Korea ofcourse ... also known as Republic of Korea) was in digital world untill it was brought to my attention by a post on Forum Oxford. Our friend Tomi Ahonen has also co-authored a book on the same topic titled 'Digital Korea'. (Excerpts from the book here). Recently he spoke on CNN and the video which you may find informative is available here. You may notice several stats in this post which have been extracted from ITU's Digital Life publication.

Once considered an industrial backwater, Korea’s effort to reinvent itself as a high-tech powerhouse has seen the country notch up a broadband scorecard the rest of the world yearns to emulate. In 1995, Korea had less than one Internet connection per 100 inhabitants; today, this modest nation of 72 million people leads the world with a household broadband penetration of 89.4 percent.
Korea’s avid belief in technology as a potent driver of economic development has taken it to the No. 1 spot worldwide in terms of digital opportunity, according to a comprehensive survey by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a United Nations agency.
The ITU’s Digital Opportunity Index measures a wide range of indicators across four principal categories: coverage and affordability; access technology and device; infrastructure; and quality of service. Scoring 0.8 out of a possible perfect 1.0, Korea’s success in rolling out affordable high-speed services has helped position broadband as an everyday ubiquitous utility, much like power or water, rather than the premium service offered by operators in markets elsewhere. That’s in turn spurring new product and service innovation, as manufacturers and operators alike scramble to take advantage of higher speeds and more robust NGN-based network architectures.

Some Stats which shows the potential and the progress of technology in Korea:

  • Korea’s impressive literacy rate—at more than 98 percent it’s one of the highest in Asia—and exceptionally high level of school enrollment also means young Koreans are motivated and empowered to embrace the online world.
  • Under the government’s commitment to what it terms "edutopia," 10,000 schools have been connected to the Internet and 330,000 teachers and 210,000 classrooms provided with PCs. At the same time, 50,000 high-achieving students from low-income families have been given free PCs with five-year broadband subscriptions.
  • The country’s highly urbanized population has made it a natural for WiFi. There are now more than 10,000 hotspots, from bars to local beaches, and most operators bundle WiFi with broadband for a small additional charge.
  • Triple-play services offering converged voice, data and video are already available or imminent from KT, Hanaro, Dacom, SK Telecom and some smaller service operators. One of the first to take the plunge, Hanaro says it already has 500,000 subscribers for its VoD HanaTV IPTV portal launched 12 months ago and is forecasting 1.4 million by the end of 2008.
  • The rise of bandwidth-hungry, triple-play services is also prompting a large-scale migration from DSL to FTTx. With 74 percent of Korean households already passed by fiber, UK consultancy Point Topic notes that Korea’s DSL subscriber base is falling steadily, while FTTx subscribers grew by 1.2 million in the second half of 2006.
  • 100% of South Korean internet access has migrated to broadband (the world, about 30%).
  • It is the first country where all internet connections were upgraded to broadband and today 100 mbit/s broadband speeds are offered and gigabit speeds are planned.
  • The first country to launch digital TV broadcasts to cellphones and cars, and where 100% ofcellphones sold are cameraphones and nearly three out of four cellphones is a high speed 3G phone.
  • The country where over half pay using the cellphone, 43% of the nation maintains personal profilesand blogs, and 25% of the whole population have participated in videogaming inside the same game.
    90% of South Korean homes have broadband internet access. The world average is about 20%.
  • 63% of South Koreans make payments using their cellphones, the world average is under 5%.

No comments: