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Internet penetration rate tops 70%
Korea`s Internet penetration rate passed 70 percent at the end of last year, with more than 31 million of the country`s 48 million population having online access, according to government figures released yesterday.
A survey by the Ministry of Information and Communication conducted last month indicated that 31.6 million people of the country`s 44 million people over the age of six said they accessed the Internet at least once in the past month via desktop computer or wireless terminal. This accounts for a penetration rate of 70.2 percent.
December`s number of Internet users is a 4.7 percent increase year-on-year and a 2 percent increase from June last year, when Korea`s Internet population first exceeded 30 million.
The 4.7 percent annual growth rate is a decline from 11.2 percent in 2003 and 75.3 percent in 2000, with the market approaching saturation. The report was based on a survey of 17,535 people in 7,042 households in 16 cities nationwide.
When applying the standards of the International Telecom Union for penetration rate per population, Korea`s rate is adjusted to 65.2 percent. In a report issued by the ITU in September, Korea`s then-Internet penetration rate of 63.3 percent was the second-highest in the world behind Iceland`s 67.5 percent.
According the Communication Ministry report, the average Internet user last year spent 11.7 hours per week logged on, a slight drop from 2003`s 12.5 hours. Around 86.7 percent of the users had an e-mail account and 47.3 percent of them used online shopping services.
More than 72.2 percent of the surveyed households used digital subscriber lines (xDSL) for Internet access, while 11.3 percent used cable and 3.6 percent had fixed-line modems.
The penetration rate rose to 96.2 percent for people under 20 years of age, numbering about 9.03 million people. The penetration rate was 95.3 percent for people in their 20s, accounting for about 7.60 million people, and 88.1 percent for people in their 30s, or about 7.84 million people.
The penetration rate was 62.5 percent for people in their 40s, up 10.9 percent from 2003, and 31.1 percent for those in their 50s.
Penetration was greatest in the southern port city of Ulsan at 79.1 percent, followed by Gwangju at 75.8 percent and the Gyeonggi Province cities at 75.5 percent. Seoul had a 73.6 percent penetration rate, up from 69.1 percent in 2003. The mid-western regions of South Chungcheong and South Jeolla put up the lowest figures at below 60 percent.