‘Ubiquitous’ network planned for BusanBusan is embarking on an ambitious project to connect virtually every corner of the port city to a vast wireless network, giving its citizens some of the world’s most advanced Internet and information systems. KT Corp., Korea’s largest fixed-line operator, said yesterday it had signed an agreement with the Busan city government to carry out plans, from next year, for what it is calling the “Ubiquitous City” project. KT has been working on preliminary plans since June of this year. The Ministry of Construction and Transportation is discussing similar projects for newly developed cities in the Seoul Metropolitan area, but the Busan project is by far the biggest and most detailed. The Busan city government and KT have earmarked 550 billion won ($530 million) over the next five years to develop 39 fields in four key sectors ― harbor facilities, transportation, exhibitions and conventions, and health ― which will be hooked up to the new network. When the project is finished, Busan residents will, for example, be able to access information on delays in the local transportation network or watch educational programs on laptops, mobile phones and monitors scattered around the city. Also, senior citizens living alone will have systems installed in their homes to automatically call emergency services in the event of an accident. KT is to invest 250 billion won in the project until 2010, installing a cutting-edge telecommunications infrastructure including WiBro, a portable Internet connection, and High-Speed Downlink Packet Access, a next-generation wireless high-speed Internet service. The telecom giant will also invest 50 billion won annually from 2008 till 2010 installing fiber-to-the-home systems, high-speed Internet connections, and Nespot, a wireless Internet service. In a press release, KT said the project could generate anything up to 2.8 trillion won, about five times the planned investment, for the local economy. by Seo Ji-eun
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