Korean Recipe for Broadband Success

by on August 26, 2004

Tom Hazlett has a nice piece on page A12 of the Wall Street Journal today explaining why South Korea is kicking everyone else’s butt when it comes to broadband connectivity and speed. Surprise, surprise, it comes down to their reliance on facilities-based competition instead of regulatory micromanagement. Hazlett notes that “Korea’s policy has proved a smashing success… (because) the government ended regulation of advanced telecom applications. The result: While competitors largely avoided (regulated) voice services, they invested billions to create new (unregulated) high-speed Internet networks. The broadband technologies unleashed by telecom rivals forced (Korea Telecom) to modernize its network, which now serves just half of the high-speed market.”

As a result, 78 percent of Koreans now have broadband access, the highest penetration rate in the world and double that of the U.S.

The bottom line: “forced access” infrastructure sharing regulation cannot deliver the goods. Only true, facilities-based competition, brought on by comprehensive market liberalization, will bring about the investment and innovation this country so desperately needs. John Wohlstetter of the Discovery Institute has come to the same conclusion in a recent piece.

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