South Korea's ICT ministry has revealed plans to expand its free public Wi-Fi service nationwide by 2017.
Construction yesterday commenced on a project to offer free Wi-Fi at 12,000 places within five years – up from around 2,000 today – JoongAng Dailyreported.
The project, which forms part of President Park Geun-hye's election pledges, involves deploying Wi-Fi hotspots in 6,000 public health centers, community centers and welfare institutes by 2015.
It also covers deployments in public libraries, museums, police stations and hospitals, as well as remote or underserved areas.
The ministry has also arranged for South Korea's mobile operators to open around 4,000 private Wi-Fi hotspots to the public. SK Telecom, Korea Telecom and LG U+ have in the past collaborated on joint Wi-Fi projects.
A ministry official told JoongAng Daily that currently around 53% of public Wi-Fi hotspots are located in Seoul, and that this project aims to expand Wi-Fi to other cities and areas in order to level the playing field.
Other telecom-related pre-election pledges made by the incumbent Saenuri Party included promises to cut voice call rates by 20% and ensure operators offer unlimited LTE services.