Most Wired Place on Earth, South Korea an indicator of where we are heading

I am watching the PBS Frontline special Digital_Nation, and previously blogged on dangers of multi-tasking.

The show is now discussing South Korea as an example of the most wired place on the earth.  I haven’t been to South Korea for over 15 years, ironically the start (1994) of the broadband growth in South Korea.  I worked with Samsung when I was at Apple and acquired & managed the Korean fonts for Win3.1.

Here are some of the facts from the Frontline website.


Population: 48.4 million(July 2008 est.)

Median age: 36.7 years

GDP (PPP): $1.312 trillion (2008 est.), 14th largest in the world

Korean gaming industry (including game centers): $7.8 billion (2006)

Internet usage rate: 76.5 percent (2008)

Percentage of Internet users age 3 to 5: 2.3 percent (2008)

Wireless Internet usage rate (ages 12 to 59): 52.5 percent (2008)

Household broadband penetration:: 97 percent (2008)

Landlines: 23.02 million (2008)

Cell phones: 44.98 million (2008)

Other facts:
  • The Korean government began investing in a nationwide broadband network in 1994
  • South Korea has over 20,000 Internet cafes called "PC Bangs"
  • 43 percent of Koreans maintain a blog
  • 20 million people belong to Cyworld, an online "parallel universe"/social networking site
  • In early 2009 the Korean Communications Commission (KCC) announced a plan to invest $837 million -- in addition to $21.1 billion in private funds -- to provide 1-Gbps average broadband speeds to major cities by 2012 (meaning a 120-minute feature film will take 12 seconds to download). The average U.S. broadband speed is 4.8 Mbps -- 200 times slower.