Wednesday, December 19, 2007

[ News, Science / Tech, December 8 2007] Web links bind rural areas to Internet age, raise productivity

Goryeong-gun in Gyeongsangbuk-do (North Gyeongsang Province) is one of the five least-inhabited counties in Korea. But around 1,500 years ago, it was a seat of power for the Gaya Confederacy (45 - 532) of chiefdoms.

Though the county has only 35 thousand residents and five computer game rooms, well developed IT technology in its homes, businesses and schools keep Goryeong residents up to date with the other parts of the peninsula.

Goryeong county council members attend virtual meetings via laptops and Internet connections. Participants can follow and join in proceedings by listening to real-time radio broadcasts thanks to the so called “e-assembly system.”

The Goryeong-gun Office injected 94 million won to establish the online, paperless meeting system that allows users to read electronic documents on the Web and hear input via an IP broadcasting system that delivers the discussions countywide through real-time radio broadcasts.

The system increases efficiency by reducing the number of paper documents -- and hence printing costs -- and saving commuting time for members who live in outlying areas.

According to Goryeong-gun officials, the county expects to pocket up to 20 million a year just by doing away with printing paper and toner outlays.

Meanwhile, Gangwon-do (Province) is to open an exhibition hall that will introduce the history of computers at an information village spread out over its two towns of Hwangdun and Songgye. By opening the exhibition hall, the provincial office expects that the residents can gain a better understanding of IT technology. The information village, Invil for short, is the first of its kind and the product of a national government-backed test run in 2000. The display will show more than 70 machines, including computers, printers, monitors, telephones, facsimiles, modems, LAN cards, cables, software programs, electronic calculators and program drivers.

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