The South Korean government said this week it wants around two-thirds of all households in the country within the next four years to be digital homes, where devices around the house are interconnected on a home network.

The Ministry of Information and Communications said, as a way to help its domestic electronics industry gain strength in the digital home sector, it wants to see 10 million digital homes by 2007. The most recent national census, which was conducted in 2000, counted 14.3 million households in the country.

The ministry said it plans to jointly invest 2 trillion won (US$1.7 billion) with the private sector towards the plan but did not specify the breakdown of investment between the two sides. The ministry’s plan envisages digital homes where information appliances, home appliances and Internet-connected devices are centrally controlled within the home and from outside the home via PDAs (personal digital assistants), it said in a statement.

South Korea already has one of the world’s most advanced IT network infrastructures.

The country had 10.8 million broadband Internet connections at the end of March this year, according to ministry figures, and third-generation cellular telephone services offering connections of over 1M bps (bits per second) have been commercially available since 2002. The government is now working towards a national network of wireless LAN hot spots.

The government’s four-year IT plan, unveiled in late March, places emphasis on the development of digital broadcasting, advanced mobile telephone services and robots.