Plan to add 12,000 free Wi-Fi sites

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Plan to add 12,000 free Wi-Fi sites

Free public Wi-Fi service will be expanded across the nation, the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning announced yesterday.

About 12,000 public places will have free Wi-Fi by 2017, up from the current 2,000 places, the ministry said.

It was one of President Park Geun-hye’s campaign pledges.

The ministry will start establishing Wi-Fi networks at 6,000 public health centers, community centers and welfare institutes until 2015.

From Monday, construction of the networks will begin in 1,020 remote areas like Ulleung Island and Cheolwon, Gangwon, the ministry said.

About 4,000 places where private Wi-Fi services provided by mobile carriers will also be open to the public.

Public libraries, museums, police stations and hospitals are included.

According to the ministry, Wi-Fi users are on the rise recently, since they can cut back on mobile phone bills. But about 53 percent of Wi-Fi-available places are located in Seoul and nearby areas, causing inconvenience among smartphone users.

“Expansion of Wi-Fi areas will ease financial burdens on consumers and help narrow the information gap between people in Seoul and other cities,” said Park Yoon-hyun, a ministry official.

The ministry also announced a plan to promote use of electronic documents including the # mail, a new electronic address to confirm users through a certified electronic mail. Currently, users should pay 100 won per mail, but the fee will be exempted from October through December.

The Defense Ministry plans to use the # mail to notify reserve forces of training.

BY SOHN HAE-YONG [ssh@joongang.co.kr]

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