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Korean Government Plans Cheap PCs for the Masses.

Korea's Ministry of Information and Communication has taken the wraps off its plan to bring affordable PCs to a high percentage of the country's households. The "Internet PC" project will be launched in October when selected manufacturers will work with the ministry to provide powerful PCs to the general public at prices of less than a million won ($830).

"The distribution of the low-rate multimedia PC, part of MIC's Cyber Korea 21 project, will help speed up the advent of the internet era in Korea,'' said Kang Seok-moon, director of the ministry's Knowledge-Based Industry Policy Division. He said the project is designed "to narrow the gap between the haves and have-nots in the forthcoming information-based society by offering low-rate PCs to as many people as possible. "In our efforts to build up information infrastructure, it's a precondition that a majority of households should own a PC for the wider usage of software and the internet. But the ratio of PC distribution in Korea is too low,'' he said.

At the end of last year 1998 there were an estimated 7.3 million PCs in the country, or 16 computers per 100 people. Singapore, by contrast, had achieved 34 PCs per 100 people by 1997. Kang said if the project works as planned there will be 16 million PCs in Korean homes within two years.

Kang said the envisioned minimum standard specification for the Internet PC will be a 400Mhz CPU, 64MB of RAM, a 6.4GB HDD, a 40X CD-ROM drive, a 56kbps fax modem, an 8MB 3D graphic card, 120W speakers and bundled software including the Korean version of Windows 98, a word processor, a communications program and anti-virus software. "The package including a 15-inch color monitor should be priced at below 1 million won if a manufacturer wants to joint the project and use the brandname "Internet PC", he said. The Internet PC and other software will be available not only through existing distribution channels but also at post offices across the nation for those who live in remote regions.
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Publication:Computergram International
Geographic Code:9SOUT
Date:Aug 10, 1999
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