Korea has always been living at the cutting edge of the broadband market, realising that in the modern world the importance of a superfast telecommunications network is the difference between economic boom and bust. They've spent billions of won over the past 10 years improving that infrastructure, first rolling out 100Mbps networks across the country, then planning to offer a 1Gbps connection to users in their largest urban areas by 2012. That's going to cost a reported further US$24 billion, but with their booming economy and highly advanced electronics industry it shouldn`t be out of their grasp.
At the moment Korea tops several polls in terms of broadband penetration with 95% of households having access to broadband. And with nearly half of that amount of customers using fiber optic connections to access the web they also have some of the fastest broadband in the world with an average connection speed of 78Mbps, topped only by Japanese connections. This makes Korea a true world leader in broadband technology and it is a trend followed by most Asia-Pacific countries which put broadband speeds and levels of penetration in the West to shame.
There are tons of great broadband deals in Korea, so let's look at the main providers and their options that you can take advantage of.
Korea Telecom (KT)
One of the most respected providers of broadband and other wired and wireless telecommunication services in the country, they have a variety of products on offer including complete services like Megapass which includes TV and movies as well as broadband and Netspot which is a Wi-Fi hotspot service. They're also going to integral to the future of broadband in the Korean market.
SK Telecom provide wireless internet solutions for customers, revolutionising the way music and media are shared and enjoyed online via their Melon Player and Wi-Fi hotspots which integrate PCs, portable devices and their own mobile services into a single excellent package. Their Nate package offers users anytime access to the internet via a huge variety of portable devices.
At the moment Korean companies, particularly KT, are leading the development of Wi-MAX, the next generation in wireless broadband connectivity. This will act like a wireless signal produced by the router you may have in your home, only broadcast over huge areas more like mobile phone networks. This will give you access to an always-on broadband connection on your mobile phone, your laptop or other mobile device and will offer download speeds in excess of 100Mbps when the technology is perfected. Expect to see broadband providers around the world adopting this technology when it is more established, but also expect to see the countries of the Asia-Pacific region being the first to fully embrace such a technology during its early stages.