Further to a comment I made here:
It’s being reported in today’s Korea Times that the government has decided that its incredibly successful rollout of DSL and cable, that has effectively given Korea pervasive broadband access, is just the beginning (I pay about US$17 per month for my 4 MB DSL, uncapped). It plans to have 5 Gb fiber pipes into homes by 2006. Judging by the success of the first wave of broadband rollout, I think they’ll do it.
The doomsayers in America who have recently offered the opinion that ‘everyone who wants broadband internet access already has it’ ought to visit Korea, and see the impact pervasive fast access has had here, and how the technology, once it reached critical mass, has begun to snowball, economic crisis or no economic crisis. One small but significant effect is that all the major TV networks have video-on-demand services, which allow you to stream past episodes of pretty much every show they air, or watch whatever is on the station at the moment. Think of that, and think about the endless verbiage and millions upon millions of dollars that have been wasted on failed video-on-demand schemes in North America. The Korean stations just went ahead and did it, without fanfare or IPOs or launch parties. And the services are heavily used…when the provision of data as a service reaches the level of a utility (that is, cheap and pervasive enough not to really be noticed anymore), thinking about what is possible, or necessary, begins to change, I think.
In four years or so, when the current 3G wireless network has been replaced by whatever’s next, and I can get a 5 Gb datapipe into my home for the price of a pizza, the mind boggles at the potential uses. Even beyond pr0n!
I hope by then I speak Korean well enough to take advantage of it.