Highspeed internet becomes a “must” public service in Korea from ‘20

2019.06.10 15:35:03 | 2019.06.10 15:44:07

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Superfast and cheap internet connection that has earned South Korea the moniker as the most wired country in the world will have more truth as it would become as mandatory as public and fixed-line phones in Korea from next year.

The Ministry of Science and ICT said on Monday that it will include high-speed internet connection as all-embracing services like public telephone services, and announce enforcement decree of Telecommunications Business Act on Tuesday.

The move comes as smartphones and everyday tasks done online have become commonplace in Korea.

High-speed universal service will be implemented from January 1, 2020, while internet service providers will be required to present mileage information and internet subscription conditions from Wednesday.

According to the ICT ministry, high-speed internet is an indispensable part of daily life, allowing easy access to financial transactions, online shopping, social network service, and video streaming. Korea – thanks to the government’s aggressive policy efforts to expand high-speed internet service across the country – is known for its high penetration of high-quality, high-speed internet.

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High-speed internet service was introduced in Korea in 1998, and ever since, the government supported loan-based projects to induce service providers to voluntarily set up high-speed internet networks. It also launched a broadband convergence network (BcN) project, allowing high-speed internet service in small farming and fishing communities with each less than 50 households in 13,473 areas.

Nevertheless, residents in some remote areas still have no access to high-speed internet as internet service providers have been reluctant to set up networks due to high cost.

Universal high-speed broadband will designate high-speed internet as basic telecommunication service of all users, imposing an obligation on service providers so that everyone in the country has access to a high-speed network.

The ICT ministry, meanwhile, will also make it universal for internet service providers to offer minimum high-speed internet speed in buildings with slow network and provide higher speed compared to other countries like the United States and the United Kingdom.

Internet service providers will also be required to inform users of their earned membership mileages and use of method via respective websites and monthly bills. Internet service companies will be required to provide the information via text messages on a quarterly basis to subscribers without website access for a year.

The move is part of efforts to inform wireless users of particularly second-generation and third-generation handsets to use up their membership mileages before they are automatically gone.

By Shin Chan-ok and Lee Eun-joo

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