Business 2.0 writes in: (emphasis mine)
Ninety percent of the country has blazingly fast, 3-megabits-per-second broadband at home, and similarly high-speed wireless connections on the road. The telecom market is fiercely competitive, and broadband service costs the consumer less than $20 a month.
How did this come about? In 1995, the South Korean government made what must rank as one of the most shrewd and far-sighted investments in business history. It spent big on a nationwide high-capacity broadband network that any telecom operator could offer service on, and offered subsidies so that 45 million Koreans could buy cheap PC’s. Cost: a mere $1.5 billion
O’ Reilly is basically a continuation of the Business 2.0 write up:
South Korea has 80% of its population in Seoul and five other cities, so deploy optical fiber rings into each city, And trunk them together to provide high speed digital transport for the chaebol. Once that is done, the rings can sprout new optical fiber tentacles: 1) for cellular telephony, 2)for CATV, and for 3)high speed data communications via xDSL and CATV modems (no World Wide Web in 1990).(source)
One of the most popular homegrown portal is Cyworld. The last time I tried to access it, it was in Korean. Here is a brief introduction to Cyworld and it’s ever popular minihompy from none other than Wikipedia
Members cultivate on- and off-line relationships by forming Ilchon- buddy relationships with each other through a service called “minihompy,” which encompasses a photo gallery, message board, guestbook, and personal bulletin board. A user can link his/her minihompy to another user’s minihompy to form a buddy relationship. It is quite similar with facebook and MySpace in USA. It has been reported that as much as 90 percent of South Koreans in their 20s and 25 percent of the total population of South Korea are registered users of Cyworld, and as of September 2005, daily unique visitors are about 20 million.
Why the map of South Korea?
It’s a small country that is one of the most wired nations, moves the automobile and electronics industry of the world (Hyundai and Samsung comes to mind) and has one of the world’s largest concenteration of gamers.
We are stuck in 256k mode, with BSNL pimping the networks and we have nothing in this whole frigging nation worthy of something equivalent to Cyworld.
Just a humbling thought.