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S Korea to boost web access via power lines

SEOUL - The South Korean government plans to ease regulations restricting high-speed Internet access through power lines, allowing customers to surf the Web by plugging a computer modem into conventional electrical outlets, a ministry said on Friday.

The Ministry of Information and Communication said in August it will submit a bill to let operators offer commercial broadband Internet services via power lines without the ministry's prior approval.

The bill requires parliamentary approval and is expected to become effective beginning in October, the ministry said.

So far, would-be service providers have been obliged to get the ministry's approval to use the power line communication service because of concerns over possible interference with radio waves.

The idea of broadband Internet access over power lines is not new, but it has gained little customer acceptance because of the regulatory hurdle, according to the ministry.

The move is part of the government's effort to "digitalize" 10 million households by the end of 2007.

"The deregulation is aimed at boosting home-networking businesses in the country," a ministry official said.

The Korea Electric Research Institute is poised to develop a power-line broadband Internet technology by the end of September, which promises to send data at a speed of 54 megabits per second, nearly 10 times faster than existing broadband Internet services.

South Korea leads the world in per capita broadband Internet access.

About 73% of the nation's 48 million people have access to the Internet, with 11.3 million having high-speed, always-on connections.

(Asia Pulse/Yonhap)

Jun 12, 2004


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