High-speed Internet has spread rapidly in Korea, one of the world’s most Internet-savvy countries. High-speed Internet services are available in many homes. There are two major companies offering high-speed Internet services: KT olleh and SK Broadband. You can either sign up for service by calling the registration numbers or via online. An installation technician will be sent to your home to install Internet services.
To use Internet service, you need either wired equipment for wired Internet or wireless equipment for wireless Internet. The initial cost of installment is 30,000 won, and monthly service charges range from 5,500 to 30,000 won (VAT excluded). Note, however, that service charges may vary depending on the Internet service provider and Internet Plan. In general, contracts vary from 1 year to 3 years. Discount rates are applied depending on the period of your contract. If you cancel your service within the term of your contract or shorten the term of your contract, however, a fee may be charged to compensate
for the amount of discount you received over the length of your contract. You will have to pay rental fees for the modem and AP as well. Therefore, you must consider the length of your stay when signing the contract.
Internet cafes (PC bang)
Throughout Seoul, there are many places where you can use the Internet, so it should be easy to find one in your neighborhood. These places are called PC bang, a Korean word for Internet café, and they can include words such as “cyber,” “net,” and “Internet plaza” in their names. When you need to use the Internet to check your e-mail, surf the web, or work on or print documents, go to a PC bang in your neighborhood. You can use the Internet at a reasonable price. Hourly rates are between 1,000 won and 1,500 won. You can use the Internet at a lower cost if you have membership or go to the PC bang during nighttime hours.
Cable TV is a means of communication that combines broadcasting and telecommunication and provides multi-channels related to a variety of specialized fields of broadcasting. Depending on their needs, viewers can choose from many specialized channels including movies, dramas, sports/games, news/information, entertainment, regional access/TV guide, home shopping, children, music, hobby/living, culture/documentary, women/family, education/public access, and religion. In addition, viewers can watch not only territorial broadcasting but also overseas satellite TV programs from America, Japan, Australia, China, and Europe. Recently, cable TV providers have begun to offer Internet
service with Internet-based phone service.
A foreigner who wants to sign up for cable TV service needs to provide his or her name, contact information, address, Alien Registration Card, and bank account for automatic money transfer. (For money transfer by giro, a copy of one’s passport is required.)
The required documents may differ for each cable service company, so you must make inquiries at your local cable TV provider. You can contact the Korean Cable TV Association for their phone numbers.
Satellite broadcasting refers to broadcasting TV programs and PCM (Pulse Code Modulation) programs using BS (Broadcasting Satellite), which is located 35,784km above the Earth. Through satellite broadcasting, viewers can watch channels from all over the world, which are not available on territorial broadcasting. You can also videotape your favorite programs and watch them later. As a representative satellite TV provider in Korea, SkyLife is a multichannel digital satellite broadcast station that provides high-definition pictures and high-quality sound based on digital technology, hundreds of channels, simultaneous broadcasting of the same-quality programs throughout the nation, data broadcasting services through interactive communication, and specialized audio channel services.
A foreigner can sign up for SkyLife services by calling SkyLife’s customer service center (tel. 1588-3002) or by e-mail (english@skylife. co.kr). To watch satellite programs, you need antenna, receiver, Smart Card, and remote controller. SkyLife’s staff will install the equipment.
Monthly rates vary depending on the satellite TV provider, product, and term of your contract. In addition to the monthly rates, you need to pay for the receiver, antenna, and installation. It is difficult to recommend a 3-year contract package, which is generally applied to Koreans, since foreigners do not normally reside in Korea for a long time (in case of cancellation of the 3-year contract, a relatively large penalty is imposed). Thus, a rate system that does not incur any penalty is recommended in case of cancellation of the contract anytime. Moreover, an information (text) service like Sky Touch, wherein all menus are supported in Korean, is meaningless to those foreigners who do not understand Korean.
For this reason, Sky Touch should not be added to the service for foreigners with no understanding of Korean.
Newspapers and magazines
Numerous newspapers and magazines can be found in Korea, ranging from newspapers issued daily to weekly and monthly magazines. You can get newspapers or magazines with one-year subscription, but you can also buy them at newsstands around bus stops or subway stations as well as 24-hour convenience stores and bookstores. Various media companies (including newspapers and magazines) update news and information through their websites and in print. They also offer English services.
Although readers need to pay for the offline media, anyone can view online information free of charge except some contents as long as he/she is connected to the Internet. English newspapers for foreigners in Korea include the Joongang Daily, Korea Times, and Korea Herald.
Broadcast stations and radio
Korea’s three major broadcast stations include KBS (Korean Broadcasting System), MBC (Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation), and SBS (Seoul Broadcasting System). Each broadcast station has broadened the scope of broadcasting through territorial broadcasting, radio programming, cable and satellite programming, Internet, and DMB. In particular, the development of Internet homepages has enabled viewers to watch program re-runs. In addition, more programs have included viewers’ opinions or information on the programs. Arirang TV is an English broadcast station that provides news and information on Korea. All TV and radio programs of the broadcast station are available in English. AFN (1530 AM, 102.7 FM) and TBS eFM (101.3 FM) are 24-hour English radio stations.