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e-business: Broadband for everyone in South Korea by year 2005.

Aiming to hook up every household to the Internet, South Korea has unveiled plans for telecom companies to invest 13.3 trillion won (pounds 7 billion) in high-speed broadband networks by 2005.

South Korea, already the most wired country in the world with ten million high-speed Internet connections in its population of 48 million, said all households will be able to get fast-speed Internet access by 2005.

The Ministry of Information and Communication said it will boost that number by 35 per cent to 13.5 million homes.

Koreans spend more time in front of computers than watching television, clicking the mouse to trade shares, order pizza, buy clothes or even consult a doctor.

'I log on to the Internet about two to three hours almost every day to play online games,' said Hwang Hwa-sun, a 23-year-old worker at Korea Securities Depository.

'I also like to use the Internet for shopping cosmetics and clothes. My sister reads newspapers from the Internet, while my father uses it to play a Korean card game,' she added.

Helped by the rapid spread of the Internet, online stock trading accounts for 65 per cent of total turnover on the Korea Stock Exchange. That compares with only 3.8 per cent in Japan and 7.6 per cent in Taiwan.

KT Corp, South Korea's largest telecom company, and other Internet service providers (ISPs), will fund the new planned investment, which includes 258 billion won in government loans, through 2005, the ministry said.

South Korean ISPs are building Internet backbones using rights of way along the nation's highways, power and telephone lines and natural gas pipelines.

Years ago, South Korea installed an extensive cable television network, which will provide the key 'last mile' connection from the backbone to the home.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Geographic Code:9SOUT
Date:Nov 12, 2002
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