Australia, South Korea strengthen broadband ties

Broadband collaborations between Australia and South Korea will move forward on three fronts after government and industry heavyweights from both nations came face to face on the Gold Coast recently.

Chairman of The mNet Australia Project and Australia-Korea Broadband Summit (AKBS) organizer, Professor Mike Miller said Australian senator Richard Alston wanted to see more broadband initiatives coming out of the government sector.

The Australia-Korea Foundation (AKF), a government body promoting trade between the two nations, is putting forward specific proposals for collaboration in the development of e-health applications.

Miller said a Korean company, BIT Computer Co., was working on an application allowing doctors to remotely access patient records from a hospital while visiting a patient at their home.

He said mNet is working on a similar project suitable for handhelds.

“Both countries are facing a population bulge and neither will have enough room to accommodate growing patient numbers in the future,” Miller said. “That is why we think such applications will be well suited to the health industry.”

Australian and Korean application developers were at the AKBS to work towards agreements for sharing applications.

Developers interested in finding out how they can get a piece of the action are encouraged to visit Gallery 4 at for details of how to become part of the community.

Membership costs A$800 (US$526) per year.

“We run monthly seminars on how to generate applications that carriers need and business models we think might work,” Miller said. “There is access to software tools and we can put developers in touch with carriers.”

Korea has so far achieved the fastest broadband take-up in the world, but that has not been achieved without some teething problems.

Korean Information Society Development Institute (KISDI) president, Dr John Lee, said the country now has 10 million subscribers but still faces challenges.

“The widening digital divide is a problem, with disparities in income, age and education leading to a gap in information access,” he said. “This will cause huge problems for social integration in the future.”

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