KII has been initiated by domestic and international challenges facing the nation at the beginning of 1990’s. Although the NBIS project made substantial contributions to IT use and production in Korea, the project lost its driving force by the time it entered into the second stage mainly due to reduced attention paid by the government. While there had been many people realizing the potentials of IT use and its implications on efficiency and competitiveness, those in charge of public resource allocation could not find visible evidences of IT investment enough to have them convince the usefulness of IT applications. In the meantime, the NII proposals made by the U.S. and Japanese governments had Korea feel a threat that if it did not follow them its industries might not be able to compete in the globalized economy, and the nation might be left farther behind developed countries.
From an optimistic viewpoint, computing and communications technologies are providing capabilities, industries are active in seeking business opportunities over the information infrastructure, and government has articulated the Plan and primed the funding engine, KII does not seem to lie in long distance of becoming a reality. In order for the optimistic view not to be far from a reality, we need to proceed wisely, drawing not merely on past experience we had with the NBIS and other IT projects, but on solutions to the issues addressed in the previous section.
In addressing factors leading to successful implementation of the KII Plan, it is important to recognize that, in the adoption and diffusion process of IT applications, both supply and demand forces are operating together to reinforce one another for maximum leverage and synergy. Lesson was derived from the unsuccessful experience due to placing emphasis on the supply-side in pursuing the NBIS project, paying attentions also to the demand factors in the KII Plan. Despite we recognize the lesson, however, there is still difficulty involved in articulating the Plan while taking both sides together. It is necessary to analyze the trend of technology development and the future demand for technology regarding information infrastructures, but it is difficult to predict the outcome of IT development that is changing so rapidly and that generates so many surprising varieties as it evolves. Particularly on demand side, information on the potential needs for IT innovations is so limited, and the ability of markets translating potential human needs into explicit demand is also limited that it is almost impossible for the Plan to cover the entire range of future needs probably realized during the time period spanning the Plan.
This difficulty by the nature of IT precludes proper considerations of both factors simultaneously. Thus the KII’s future depends on how successfully this difficulty is overcome, leading to a reality from the vision of the Plan.
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Baily, M.N. and R.J. Gordon. 1988. “The productivity slowdown, measurement issues and explosion of computer power,” Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, 347-420.
National Computerization Agency (NCA Korea). 1995. White Paper for National Informatization, 1994 (in Korean).
National Research Council. 1994a. Information Technology in the Service Society: A Twenty-First Century Lever. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
National Research Council. 1994b. Realizing the Information Future. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
National Research Council. 1995. The Changing Nature of Telecommunications /Information Infrastructure. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
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Tables and Figures
Note: Sources of data for the following tables are White Paper for the National Informatization, 1994 and 1995, if not otherwise mentioned.
-between 5 metropolitan areas: 2.5 Gbps - tens of Gbps
-between metropolitan areas and 7 large cities: 2.5 Gbps
-ATM switching technology
-super high-speed interconnecting among LANs (above 155 Mbps)
-extending one-stop delivery for government services
-electronic library and museum service for extended areas
-remote diagnosis service, distant learning
-advanced services from geographic information system (GIS)
III. Third Stage(2003-2015): Completion Stage
-Networks for broadband multimedia services
-automation of network operation and maintenance
-enhanced switching system enabling various multimedia services
-HDTV image information service
-three-dimensional video conference service
-super-computer application service
-providing government information by multimedia technology
Box 2. Plan for NKN-P
I. First Stage(1995-1997): Groundwork Stage
Switching Technology: ATM-MSS in the metropolitan areas
Transmission Network: interconnection of local telephone stations with 155-622 Mbps chronous network
Subscriber Loop: optical fiber cabling for large buildings with heavy traffics, densely populated areas
-still-image picture phone services
-high-speed/resolution fax service
-expansion of ISDN services
II. Second Stage(1998-2002): Diffusion Stage
Switching technology: development of ATM test network in large cities
Transmission network: 2.5 - 10 Gbps synchronous networks
Subscriber loop: full-scale supply of optical cables in apartment complexes and
heavily populated areas
Services: Commercial services using ATM decentralized switching network
III. Third Stage(2003-2015): Completion Stage
Switching technology: integration of existing networks via ATM based network
Transmission network: supply of tens of optical transmission devices
Subscriber loop: supply of optical cables to residential homes
Services: ATM based multimedia services