National information infrastructure

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The KII’s Future

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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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.

Table 1. Production and Export of IT Industries

199319941995*Growth Rate


Computers 966 381 1295 288 1623 270 25.1 6.8

Peripherals 3284 2705 3721 2860 4315 3150 16.5 9.9

Com. Equip. 2978 1502 3625 1946 4269 2490 17.7 28.5

Semiconduct 8756 6982 14225 12838 19913 18420 38.0 39.6

Total 15984 11570 22866 17932 30120 24330 29.9 31.7

* Estimates

Units: Million Dollar

Table 2. Production and Export of PC

199219931994Growth Rate(94/93)


Export331378 28025.9

Units: Million Dollar

Table 3. Size of Domestic PC Market*



* in terms of PC’s sold (thousand sets)

Table 4. Computers Purchased per Capita (dollars), 1993



Table 5. Telephone Lines per 100 Population (1993)

KoreaU.S. JapanGermanyU.K.France


Table 6. Subscribers of Mobile Communications


Mobile Telephones472960


Units: thousand sets

Table 7. Telecommunications Service* Markets

1990199119921993Growth Rate

Sales (Billion Won)23130849766843%

Number of Providers99130173227

* includes VAN, DB, On-Line data processing, voice mail services

Table 8. Projection of Communications Service Market in contrast with GNP


Com. Services 1157 1478 1860 2310 2834



Units: Billion Won

Table 9. Multimedia Industry

TypeSales (Billion Won)

Multimedia PC94.5

CD-ROM Drive37.5

CD-ROM Title38.0

Sound Card51.4

Image Card25.0

Tools 5.4


Table 10. Internet Use (Host Computers in thousand, as of July 1995)



Source: Network Wizards(

Table 11. Internet Use in Korea

October 1994October 1995



Research3585 5668

Organization 128 1017

Government 37 80


Source: NCA, Oct. 1995

Box 1. Plan for NKN-G

I. First Stage(1995-1997): Groundwork Stage

Transmission Network

-between 5 metropolitan areas: 622 Mbps - 2.5 Gbps

-between metropolitan areas and 7 large cities: 622 Mbps

-between large cities and small-medium cities: 155 Mbps - 622 Mbps

Switching Technology

-using data switching technology

-R&D on ATM switching technology and its test on pilot projects


-high-speed LAN

-one-stop delivery for selected government services

-electronic library and museum service for selected areas

-remote diagnosis service, distant learning

II. Second Stage(1998-2002): Diffusion Stage

Transmission Network

-between 5 metropolitan areas: 2.5 Gbps - tens of Gbps

-between metropolitan areas and 7 large cities: 2.5 Gbps

Switching Technology

-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
Transmission Network

-Networks for broadband multimedia services

-automation of network operation and maintenance

Switching Network

-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


-video conferences

-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

Test services using ATM 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

HDTV-level video information exchange services

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