[EDITORIALS]A new Internet payment planA debate over adopting an Internet fee payment system whereby users are charged based on the time of use and the amount of data transmitted resurfaced after KT submitted a report to the National Assembly stating that the top 5 percent of Internet users accounted for 50 percent of all internet activity.
The report suggests that the new system should replace the current fixed payment of 20,000 won ($20) to 40,000 won monthly.
KT said every year between 50 billion won and 60 billion won is spent on providing additional capacity, adding that the current system, in which the majority of users subsidize costs for the few, should be improved.
Internet users rebutted KT’s assertion, however, arguing that the company was only seeking ways to raise its fees since the proposed payment system is already in partial force, as users are charged according to the circuit capacity. They added that if fees rise, access to information on the part of low income people will be blocked, widening the information gap between the rich and the poor. Related businesses, such as game companies and PC rooms, would be affected as well.
It is true that the current payment system has contributed to the widespread use of the Internet, but since network resources are limited, it is time to consider an improvement in the payment system.
Once the new payment system is adopted, the service quality will improve, since the amount of data will be reduced, while other problems, such as spam and teenagers’ addiction to the Internet, will be resolved.
Yet, the adoption of the system should not be rushed by companies chasing after profits. We should learn from European countries that became underdeveloped Internet nations after persisting in charging users based on the amount of data.
The government should consider all factors, including an analysis of the principal cost of the high speed Internet system based on the sales reports of Internet service providers and the development of related industries and equipment, suggesting appropriate direction.
Internet companies should also place a priority on offering various payment products. The adoption of a new payment system should lower the cost to less frequent users of the Internet.