NY Times – By the end of 2012, South Korea intends to connect every home in the country to the Internet at one gigabit per second. That would be a tenfold increase from the already blazing national standard and more than 200 times as fast as the average household setup in the United States.
A pilot gigabit project initiated by the government is under way, with 5,000 households in five South Korean cities wired. Each customer pays about 30,000 won a month, or less than $27. The South Korean project is also meant to increase wireless broadband services tenfold.
By 2013, the speed of wired and wireless Internet in Korea will be 10 times faster than now. Using this Internet network, we can watch Ultra Definition TV (UDTV), which will be 4 to 16 times clearer than existing High Definition TV (HDTV). In addition, we will also watch HD level video clips with mobile phones. We will make the world’s best converged infrastructure of wired, wireless and broadcasting systems with a guaranteed speed of 1 Gbps for wired networks and 10 Mbps for wireless networks
Koreas 17 new growth engine industries
President Lee Myung-Bak has made digital convergence across the industries a key to Korea’s new Engines of Growth Strategy. Investments in technology convergence across many industries (automotive, energy, shipbuilding, etc.) is planned to further the administration’s “Low Carbon, Green Growth” initiative and ensure continued economic prosperity. The Korean Communications Commission (KCC is formerly the Ministry of Information and Communication), and the new overarching Ministry of Knowledge Economy (MKE) are expected to oversee the growth of new convergence projects, spending USD 11.6 billion in the digital convergence technology development
Thanks to Korea’s pro-active government / industry cooperation, the private sector is expected to invest another USD 146 billion, over the next five years.
The Korean Government has designated 17 industries as new growth engines (NGEs) which will drive the future economic growth. The government plans to spend USD 20 billion over the next five years on NGEs, and RFID/USN is one of primary engines acting as a foundation. RFID/USN spectrum band is being reallocated by June 2011, from 908.5-914MHz to 915-923.5MHz and 68 Korea Standards (KS) have been developed to guide and encourage the Korean RFID industry.
The 17 new national growth engines are six projects in green technology industries, including new renewable energies, low-carbon energies, LED (light-emitting diode) applications, and green transportation systems; six in state-of-the-art fusion industries, such as IT fusion systems, robot applications, and biomedicines; and five in high valued-added industries, including global healthcare, global education services, green financing, and MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions, and events) and the tourism industry.
The government will inject more than 6.3 trillion won to implement the R&D projects over the next four years, while increasing the ratio of investment in basic research into original technologies from 17 percent (150 billion won) in 2007 to 35 percent (700 billion won) by 2012. A total of 24.5 trillion won ($19.5 billion) will be spent over the next five years to nurture 17 environment-friendly and high valued-added businesses as the nation’s new growth engines. “The 24.5 trillion won in spending is to boost the competitiveness of Korea’s energy, high-tech and services industries, including advanced fuel cells, clean transportation, convergence, robotics, biotech, nuclear energy and advanced information technology.
If the blueprint for new growth engines is successfully implemented, the value added will amount to 700 trillion won by 2018, exports from new growth engines will increase 18 percent annually on average, about 3.5 million new quality jobs will be created over the next decade, and people’s quality of life will therefore be improved, the government predicts.
“A lot of Koreans are early adopters,” Mr. Choi said, “and we thought we needed to be prepared for things like 3-D TV, Internet protocol TV, high-definition multimedia, gaming and videoconferencing, ultra-high-definition TV, cloud computing.”
Hong Kong and Japan offer gigabit service. Australia has a plan in the works for 2018. Google is drafting pilot programs for part of the Stanford campus and other locales in the United States. And Chattanooga, Tenn., has started a citywide gigabit service, reportedly at a staggering $350 a month.
Any technical hurdles in upgrading the existing South Korean infrastructure are minimal, according to engineers and network managers. DSL lines — high-speed conventional telephone wires — will have to be replaced. But fiber-optic lines already widely in use are suitable for one-gigabit speeds.
Mr. Choi’s gigabit program is just one of several Internet-related projects being coordinated by the government here over the next four years. Their overall cost is projected to be $24.6 billion, with the government expected to put up about $1 billion of that amount, according to the Korea Communications Commission.
Private South Korean firms, notably KT (the former Korea Telecom), SK Telecom and the cable provider CJ Hellovision, are the principal participants in the gigabit project. The government’s financial contribution in 2010, Mr. Choi said, would be just $4.5 million