Wednesday, June 16, 2010

RTLS: Internet

Reason #1 to love Seoul:

Available networks in the area

From Wikipedia:
« South Korea's broadband network is the fastest and, according to the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, the most developed in the world. Particularly Seoul, the nation's capital, has been called "the bandwidth capital of the world." In January 2006, it became the first country to achieve over 50% broadband penetration per capita. By 2005, it was the first country to complete the conversion from dial-up to broadband. It also has the cheapest, fastest broadband on the planet. Now there are experiments with speeds of 1 gigabit per second. Additionally, in 2005 96.8% of South Korean mobile phones had internet access. »

A recent CNN article "Why Internet connections are fastest in South Korea" provided some interesting explanations:
« Broadband Internet speeds in the United States are only about one-fourth as fast as those in South Korea, the world leader, according to the Internet monitoring firm Akamai.

And, as if to add insult to injury, U.S. Internet connections are more expensive than those in South Korea, too. The slower connection here in the U.S. costs about $45.50 per month on average, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. In South Korea, the much-faster hookup costs $17 per month less. An average broadband bill there runs about $28.50.

So why is U.S. Internet so much slower and pricier than broadband connections in South Korea? The question is timely, as the U.S. government pushes forward with a "broadband plan" that aims to speed up connections, reduce costs and increase access to the Internet.
  1. Greater competition in the market*
  2. Political culture
  3. Open vs. closed networks
  4. Population density
  5. "Korea had a plan...a decade ago." »
The happy consequence of this decade-old plan, at the moment, is that I'm enjoying free wireless Internet in front of Tours Les Jours—this Korean bakery was a godsend in Beijing last summer, and it's also where I buy most of my cakes in Houston—while drinking a refreshing strawberry smoothie.

*God save capitalism.