The most connected Place on the Planet

Every so often, folks discover South Korea as the broadband nirvana, and come back amazed, write long articles and praise the farsightedness of their government in pushing this infrastructure. It seems today it is PC World’s turn. Joel Strauch, who moved to South Korea to teach english looks at how broadband is influencing South Koreans’ daily lives.

South Korea is the most Internet-connected country in the world. That connectedness makes it very simple to play real-time online strategy games like Starcraft. From gaming rooms filled with high-end PCs to locals speaking freely about downloading movies, it’s clear that the Internet is firmly entrenched in most South Koreans’ daily lives.

South Koreans typically pay a third of what we pay here in the US and getting ten times as much bandwidth and are trying to figure out new ways to consume the “speed.” Many Koreans don’t even know a thing called dial-up.

The ubiquity of broadband has affected a huge proportion of the population. Downloading music, TV shows, and movies is done in large numbers, especially among the college-age crowd. There aren’t any threats of lawsuits from the RIAA to dissuade users, and it’s done so universally that most of the folks I talked to about it don’t really think of it as wrong. But the widespread connectivity isn’t just impacting the youth of Korea. Some farmers have taken to selling their organic fruits and vegetables online.

I read this and see the hand wringing over broadband in the US and worry… a lot.