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Information Technology Policy and the Digital Divide

Lessons for Developing Countries

Edited by Mitsuhiro Kagami, Masatsugu Tsuji and Emanuele Giovannetti

The proliferation of new information technologies throughout the world has raised some important questions for policymakers as to how developing countries can benefit from their diffusion. This important volume compares the advantages and disadvantages of the IT revolution through detailed studies of a variety of developed and developing nations and regions: Argentina, Estonia, the EU, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, South Africa, Thailand and the USA.
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Chapter 6: Jumping up to the Internet-based Society: Lessons from South Korea

Yasushi Ueki


Yasushi Ueki 1. INTRODUCTION Asian countries have already started making efforts to diffuse the Internet nationwide. But they are facing a lot of hurdles such as building infrastructure, deregulation of telecommunications, high price of equipment and systems, security and digital divide. Even if they could succeed in encouraging IT, rapid diffusion causes frictions economically and socially. This is mainly because all of the people and social systems cannot react and change themselves flexibly in accordance with rapid technological changes. In addition, IT will also change the sense of values especially among younger generations, which brings cultural problems and ethic conflicts between generations. Some of the troubles cannot be coped with using existing laws and dispute settlement processes. As a pioneer of broadband Internet and mobile phones, South Korea (hereafter Korea) has made efforts to encourage IT and overcome problems. The Korean government has shown initiatives to promote the introduction of IT. As a result of the efforts, Korea emerged as one of the most advanced countries in the world in the introduction of broadband Internet, especially Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL), and mobile phones. But some problems still remain and new social and economic issues are emerging. Although there are differences in preconditions between Korea and other developing countries for diffusion of IT, for example income levels and infrastructure, there are common factors and policy issues for developing countries. In this sense, other developing countries can garner lots of information to learn from Korea’s experiences. This chapter firstly reviews the...

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