South Korea’s Telecommunications Infrastructures Play a Key Role in Overcoming the Current COVID-19 Crisis

Apr 13, 2020

It is confirmed that there has yet to be any issue with wired and wireless network except for few server issues ever since middle and high schools started their first days of school online and have had more than 800,000 students access internet at the same time.
This is completely different from how other key countries from Europe and the U.S. have taken emergency measures such as lowering the quality of videos online in order to prepare for an unexpected interruption to their internet networks.
Including wired and wireless networks, the amount of data traffic in South Korea has only increased by 13%.
Even though the amount of data traffic has increased due to telecommuting, online education, and increased consumption of contents, they have been taking place without much issue due to the world’s best wired and wireless telecommunications infrastructures.
Wired and wireless telecommunications infrastructures such as 5G, LTE, and giga internet are the major reasons including advanced medical technologies that have effectively responded to the COVID-19 situation.
This is the reason why major countries and their political authorities are paying careful attention to South Korea. Not only wired and wireless telecommunications infrastructures have prevented the spread of COVID-19, but they are also helping the South Korean economy and the society not to break away from the right track.
“Our telecommunications infrastructures have proven their real worth in this difficult time.” said one expert.
◊South Korea’s telecommunications infrastructures undoubtedly the best in the world
The fact that South Korea has the world’s best telecommunications infrastructures has been shown through an objective index.
According to a market research company called Ovum, the average speed of South Korea’s high-speed internet in the first half of 2019 was 2,345Mbps and it was overwhelmingly the fastest speed in the world. It almost doubles and triples average speeds of Japan’s internet (1,258Mbps) and Italy’s internet (771Mbps).
Based on Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s research on high-speed internet coverage, South Korea’s coverage was 81.7% and it was the highest coverage in the world. Coverages of Japan, Lithuania, and Sweden, which were ranked second, third, and fourth, were not over 80%.
These results are circumstantial evidences that South Korea provides the world’s best internet service through continuous investments and construction of infrastructures by the government and telecommunications companies.
In addition, telecommunications companies combined latest ICTs such as AI and big data to their infrastructures and prevented any socio-economic confusion resulting from COVID-19.
“South Korean Government’s response to COVID-19 based on ICT has been very innovative.” said World Bank while requesting the government to share its ICT-based models with developing countries.
Minister Park Neung-hoo of Ministry of Health and Welfare attended WHO’s COVID-19 regular briefing online and introduced South Korea’s ICT-based measures towards COVID-19.

South Korea’s Telecommunications Infrastructures Play a Key Role in Overcoming the Current COVID-19 Crisis

◊South Korea’s telecommunications infrastructures prevent the spread of COVID-19
Strong telecommunications infrastructures are one of the reasons why South Korea has been able to successfully overcome COVID-19 so far.
5-day mask rotation system that was introduced after the mask crisis in March is a prime example. This system was been able to be applied swiftly through telecommunications infrastructures that are built throughout the nation. Through Health Insurance Review & Assessment Service’s computer system that is connected to every pharmacy in the country, the South Korean Government has been able to check whether a person purchased masks on days when he or she is not allowed to purchase a mask.
By allowing people to check quantity of masks, people have been able to purchase masks conveniently and effectively. As a result, South Korea has been able to prevent any conflict regarding purchasing masks and long lines that are happening throughout the world. People have been able to purchase masks without any issue and they have helped minimize the spread of COVID-19.
Telecommunications infrastructures and ICTs have also prevented secondary and tertiary infections by checking where people with COVID-19 are currently located.
Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has legally collected information on locations and roaming of people and has been able to quickly check one’s moving route that is difficult to check perfectly with only one’s memory or card transaction.
◊South Korea’s telecommunications infrastructures prevent economic shutdown
Ultimately, South Korea’s telecommunications infrastructures and ICTs have played key roles in maintaining South Korea’s economy and society despite COVID-19. This is different from how other countries have completely closed down their economies or local economies have fallen into chaos.
Telecommunications infrastructures’ true value is seen through South Korea’s first time having first days of school online. South Korea’s three major telecommunications companies have stabilized their infrastructures by operating their emergency traffic response systems. They applied zero rating to EBS’ mobile education site and have lessened burdens for the public. Three major IPTV companies have secured new broadcasting channels so that educational contents by each grade are provided in real time.
Telecommunications companies have shown their intentions to actively participating in overcoming the current crisis.
In order to stabilize networks from an aspect of operating infrastructures, they are going to establish systems so that national affairs can have access to internet networks remotely even if few national affairs are shut down and add additional operation personnel.
In order to help recover the South Korean economy, telecommunications companies have invested part of their investments for 5G equipment and facilities in this first half and increased the size of their investments to $3.30 billion (4 trillion KRW) that is a 50% increase.
“By making early investments in 5G equipment facilities in addition to continuous stabilization of networks, we are going to improve level of convenience of our users and we are also going to contribute to resolving temporary financial difficulties that telecommunication construction companies and repeater makers are currently going through.” said a representative for a telecommunications company.
Staff Reporter Park, Jisung | jisung@etnews.com

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