Pioneers, Subcultures and Cooperatives: the Grassroots Augmentation of Urban Places
In Seoul the broadband penetration rate surpassed 100 percent, suggesting that some homes are using multiple broadband lines, a practice not seen elsewhere by 2007. Competition, government investment, the structure of the housing market, and Korean's growing exposure to broadband through cybercafes created a surge in demand for residential broadband services. Studies of Korea's unique broadband marketplace have identified many factors that contributed to the country's rapid embrace of broadband: favorable regulation, strong consumer demand, and urban density. This chapter analyzes three dimensions of Seoul's urban character that were powerful drivers of the expansion of broadband infrastructure: neighborhood cybercafes, wireless networks, and urban cyberculture. There were more broadband homes in Seoul than in the entire nation of Canada, or Germany, or the United Kingdom. The most recent phase of digital network building is the deployment of wireless infrastructure for mobile data communications. Again, Seoul has led Korea in deploying and utilizing these new technologies for broadband communications.