South Korea launches government-sponsored infrastructure project for 10-minute city

SEOUL — Five years ago, when South Korea’s then-President Lee Myung-bak tried to build a nationwide network of high-speed data lines, Seoul’s government spent some $300 million to get ahead of the game.

After being unable to crack the back end of the plan, the administration reversed itself and finally hired a contractor. It announced plans to provide a technology platform – dubbed the “10-minute city” — that would make it possible for services and applications such as cloud computing, mobile phone gaming and medical technology to be rolled out at an unfettered rate.

Yonhap News Agency, a South Korean news agency, reported that leaders of eight South Korean cities and provinces have launched a group to work on the project. The announcement comes shortly after 17 corporations and service providers were launched as partners in the project. On Friday, the group announced that seven of the government’s proposed applications will be compatible with the platform.

Kim Eui-seong, director general of telecommunication at the Ministry of Science and ICT, said on Friday that the platform is being developed and that development will be funded by the involved companies.

Kim said the platform will first be open to the public, adding that the application system is currently being developed and that service providers have started their work on making their products compatible with the platform. He said he expects the application platform to be ready at the end of the year.

Officials at the Korean Communications Commission, the government’s digital policy agency, said that developers are still working on which applications will be compatible with the platform. One representative said that only applications developed at private enterprises will be compatible with the platform, adding that the government has not ordered the procurement of applications from public enterprises.

Still, they said that all the participating corporations and their co-developers have agreed to license or otherwise make available their services and applications for the platform to run. However, the private companies have set their own price for application development or fees for providing services, they said.

(Associated Press contributed to this story.)

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