Real Internet Speeds in South Korea
I live in South Korea and work as a network administrator. The following anecdotes are from my personal experience.
- The average numbers that they give in the report (5mbps) is not even considered acceptable service by most Koreans. From my experience the average broadband speed for an apartment build more than 5 years ago, less than 10, is 100Mbps down and 5~10Mbps up. 10 years old and older it is 50Mbps down 2~3 Mbps up. It costs 37,000 won ($30.80) for Basic 50Mbps and go up from there. I had the service installed into an apartment we manage month before last. I tested it to verify the speed.
- Korea has true service competition (government mandated of course), I can have my choice of any or all of 3 or 4 major service providers as well as some smaller ones. Service installation times are usually one business day after ordering. Call in the morning and you can usually have the services installed that afternoon or the next day at the latest. If the Technician does not show up at the agreed time, he calls you and sets the apportionment personally with you, you have the right to file for compensation with the service provider. In 1996 before I knew this, I once joked with a service technician. He asked when I wanted the service, ISDN, he was having some trouble with the line and its provisioning. I replied in a smart assed management way "I wanted it yesterday. If I wanted it today I would have called tomorrow." His face turned white. It took a while before he understood that I was trying to joke with him. I never used that line again.
- The government has mandated that by the end of 2010 all metropolitan areas of the country and will have gigabit speeds available and the countryside will have it by 2012 to 2013 distant Island communities by 2015. The project is slightly behind schedule but is expected to finish on time.
- My boss who owns a weekend house in the "country side" has a solid 56Mbps download speed limited by the fact he is using wireless G (router is in the same room). Wired it is close to 100MBPs
- I helped a friend move into a newer smart apartment unit last spring (built about 5 years ago). He has Fiber to the net distribution box in the apartment wall. The entire house is computer controlled from the gas to the cook-top to the heating cooling and lighting systems, exterior building doors, safety and grounds surveillance systems to the many other functions that he has not figured out on the apartment management computer. Parents can watch their children in the playground from their PC or the built in apartment management computer terminals located in the living area and/or the kitchen work area.
- A coworker of mine did not bother to get cable TV when he got married and moved into a new apartment. He just selects a movie to watch from his Internet movie service and downloads the complete movie in 10 minutes. Then he plays it from his notebook computer to his new 56 inch LCD Hi Def TV.
- Bundled Phone, Internet, Cell phone, and IP TV are available from 3 or 4 IP service providers, all at reasonable costs.
This is what is happening in the "Old" parts of the country and is nothing in comparison to the development a New Songdo city. The entire city is designed to be a showcase of technology and Korea's capabilities. People who have visited and toured the new development describe it as walking into a Sci-Fi movie, minus the flying cars. I have not been able to visit there yet.