South Korea to Get Super High-Speed Broadband

Chip TaylorInternet users in South Korea soon may be able to download a movie in just two seconds, if a new high-speed Internet project moves forward as planned. South Korea plans to build a super broadband infrastructure with upload and download speeds of 1 Gbps by 2013. The project will cost about 24.5 billion dollars, and will largely be funded by the private sector, according to the Agence France Presse.

Officials with the Korea Communications Commission (KCC) say this will make it possible to download a movie in about 1-2 seconds through a fiber optic cable. Some dispute that estimate, however, and believe the download time will be closer to an insufferable 12 seconds for a feature length film.

The new service will be available in large cities, with smaller South Korean towns making due with a paltry 50-100 Mbps connection. South Korea was already one of the most wired places on earth, where its citizens enjoy an average download speed of 43.3 Mbps. The average American download rate, by comparison, hangs around 8.9 Mbps, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

If you're suffering with a poor download rate, don't despair: broadband access may change across America in the next few years. A study commissioned by North Carolina's e-NC Authority has already called for the United States to meet South Korean speeds by 2015. President Obama has also said that he wants to "deploy next-generation broadband" and "work towards true broadband in every community in America;" however, he doesn't specify what ‘true' or ‘next-generation' broadband means.

Last week, Charter Communications launched America's fastest high-speed service with 60 Mbps download speeds in the St. Louis area, and will soon boost its service nationwide to 20 Mbps. That seemed like an enormous leap forward until South Korea's announcement today.   One thing is clear; America's cyber infrastructure has a long way to go if it wants to keep up with the rest of the developed world.

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