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South Korea is to spend a whopping $11bn on bringing a 1Mbps broadband service to every household in the country by 2005.

South Korea is already the world's leading broadband nation by a mile. This latest commitment to invest in fast Net access will ensure that South Korea remains head and shoulders above its nearest rivals for many years to come.

The investment will come from KT Corp, South Korea's largest telecoms company, and other ISPs. The Government will also make available loans to help fund the investment.

South Korea already has the highest broadband penetration in the world with more than six in ten of households (9.2m) connected to a broadband service at the end of June 2002.

Last month, a UK Government-backed report tried to understand why South Korea has made such a success of broadband. One of the key findings was that the South Korean Government realises that to benefit from the economic and social benefits of broadband, there needs to be investment.

That is why it has pumped in $1.5bn to help construct a high capacity infrastructure supplemented by a further $1bn through soft loans.

It also made available more than $700m to fund R&D, provided subsidies for low-income households to purchase PCs and ensured that there was free IT training for those who wanted it.

The UK Government, on the other hand, has so far only committed £30m to broadband and ruled out any tax breaks that might assist in the roll out of broadband networks. ®

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