SEOUL, South Korea, Nov. 8 -- South Korea's Ministry of Information and Communication said Wednesday that it estimates telecommunications companies in the country will invest 13.3 trillion won ($10.84 billion) by 2005 on high-speed broadband networks to cope with a rise in the number of subscribers.
As of Oct. 10, the number of broadband Internet subscribers surpassed 10 million, a ministry spokesman said in a ceremony held in Seoul this week.
KT Corp., South Korea's largest fixed-line carrier, had the largest number of broadband subscribers at 4.6 million, followed by Hanaro Telecom Co. with 2.9 million and Korea Thrunet Co. with 1.3 million.
The ministry said the number of broadband subscribers will reach about 13.5 million by 2005, by which time it expects all households to have Internet services at a minimum speed of 1 megabit per second.
South Korea began offering high-speed Internet services in 1998 with Korea Thrunet's launch of cable-modem services. In 1999, Hanaro and KT followed suit with ADSL services. In the past four years, telecommunications companies have spent about 11 trillion won in investments for high-speed Internet infrastructure.