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Korea's five year plan

Eight services, three infrastructures and nine products

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SEK2006 The foreign press at SEK2006 were treated to a speech and Q&A session from Korean Minister of Information and Communication Jun Hyong Roh.

First, his deputy Woo Sik Kim outlined the country's IT839 plan. This covers eight services, three infrastructures and nine products which will help make Korea the digital hub of north-east Asia.

The services the government is encouraging are: wireless broadband (WiBro), digital multimedia broadcasting(DMB), home networks, telematics, RFID, W-CDMA, terrestrial digital TV and VoIP.

The three network infrastructures are a converged broadband network, a universal sensor network for RFID chips, and IPv6 network.

The nine products are next generation mobiles, digital TVs, home networks, IT systems on chips, next generation PCs, embedded software, digital contents, software solutions, telematics, and intelligent service robots. They're serious about the robots - they are already in use in post offices and domestic robots will be available soon. By 2015: "The robot will have self-awareness and mutually interact with humans."

This strategy aims to increase Korea's per capita GDP to $20,000 this year, and make Korea north-east Asia's digital leader.

In the Q&A session, Minister Roh was asked what he thought the commercial prospects for WiBro are. He said predictions of 10m users within seven years in Korea may be too conservative - because mobile use was so much more popular than internet use, these targets may well be exceeded.

Asked about privacy, Roh said it was an important consideration and that RFID and the universal sensor network will mean more information is collected and that measures would need to be taken to protect that information.

He attributed Korea's success to two factors that he said would continue to be important in the future. "An information society is a people first society and investment in human resources is important." Korea has the world's highest university rates in the world - 80 per cent of high school leavers continue into further education.

The minister predicted that making traditional services mobile would also be a key developmental step.

More on IT839 here. ®

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