South Korea is already considered the country with the fastest broadband for the masses (it offers 12Mbps on average), but it's not quite satisfied with simply being first in the world. Most Western world countries are promising to guarantee everyone 2Mbps connections for the near future and the highest speeds ISPs currently offer are either 50Mbps or 100Mbps. Meanwhile, South Korea is looking to forge even further ahead by boosting its broadband speeds to 1,000Mbps (1Gbps) by 2012, according to the BBC. The South Korean government is encouraging enterprises to spend the 34 trillion Won ($30.63 billion) required to complete the scheme, a figure that is roughly comparable to the country's annual education budget.
"I think in the future we will really see a data deluge - data will explode over the network," said Lee Suk-Chae, chairman of Korea Telecom. "And you cannot handle that data traffic only through the mobile internet. Although there will be LTE, still you won't be able to handle all that traffic. Fixed line is essential to support that traffic and in that sense, I think people want to watch the content they want anywhere, anytime, and to satisfy their demands you need to have a strong network, maybe a gigabit internet." Chae says that only 10 percent of data transfer is through 3G networks in South Korea, while 70 percent comes through Wi-Fi. Given the number of hotspots in the country's urban areas and the many times faster it is, we're not surprised.
A speed of 1Gbps in the Asian nation translates to maxing out your connection at a download speed of 128 megabytes per second. In other words, downloading a 700MB movie would take 5.47 seconds, a 4.7GB DVD would finish in 37.6 seconds, and a 50GB Blu-ray disc would appear on your computer in 6 minutes and 40 seconds. It looks like many South Koreans will soon be downloading at speeds the rest of us can only dream of.