SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, October 7, 2019 — Seoul will become an “Internet data free” city by 2022, where anyone can use public Wi-Fi free of charge at anytime from anywhere. Also, the public Internet of Things (IoT) network will be expanded throughout the city, enabling citizens and visitors to enjoy such services as “sharing parking,” “smart streetlights,” and “missing prevention system”.
This attempt will give each citizen 52,000 won (US$ 43) worth of cost benefits per month, or about 630,000 won (US$ 525) per year, which is equivalent to 3.87 trillion won (US$ 3.2 billion) per year for the city as a whole.
It will also allow annual 12 million international tourists to use free public Wi-Fi whenever they would like to search for travel information on their own smartphones, which will contribute to the improvement of tourists’ convenience and satisfaction.
Based on these features, the Seoul Metropolitan Government unveiled its master plan for the “Smart Seoul Network (hereinafter “S-Net”)” project. It is about the establishment of the smart city infrastructure throughout Seoul to realize a universal “Internet communication welfare” and to provide its citizens with the basic right to enjoy Internet infrastructure freely. For this project, a total of 102.7 billion won will be injected over the next three years from 2020 to 2022.
This scheme is aimed at proactively responding to explosively increasing demand for the information and communications infrastructure at a time when smartphones have become a must item in the citizens’ daily lives. The Seoul Metropolitan Government said that it will make every effort to ensure that the burden of Internet data expenses will not undermine underprivileged people’s accessibility to the information.
According to the plan, the Municipal broadband network called “S-Net” will be established in all parts of Seoul by 2022. There have been some cases in the past that the Municipal broadband network had been built by organization to manage administrative affairs and infrastructure, however it is the first time in the world that such a network is built across the large city like Seoul.
Based on this S-Net, public Wi-Fi will be available from the current 31 percent to 100 percent, and public IoT will be expanded across Seoul. When the Municipal broadband network just like the aorta, and public Wi-Fi and IoT network like capillary vessels are established, Seoul will be a “hyper-connected city” where every people and things are connected to the network.
The S-Net project’s main features are 1) establishing the Municipal broadband network, 2) creating public Wi-Fi, and 3) building Internet of Things networks.
First, the project will integrate and connect the existing Municipal broadband network (2,883 km) that have been established sporadically since 2003 as a first stage, and
and establish new networks (1,354 kilometers) as a second stage. Considering the Wi-Fi coverage area, the new network will be created in the ‘ㄹ’ shape every 100 meters in diameter to maximize effect and minimize installation costs at the same time.
Second, public Wi-Fi will be expanded to all corners of the city, such as welfare facilities, community spaces and village buses, in addition to the existing ones at populated areas including main streets, subways and parks. It will more than double the current 7,420 access points (APs) to 23,750 by 2022, covering 100 percent of the city’s citizen life zones (currently 31 percent).
Third, the Seoul Metropolitan Government will create 1,000 new IoT (Long Range (LoRa) IoT) stations in S-Net that will be newly established this time in an effort to make the IoT foundation that will be allowed to provide comprehensive services of the smart city in the future. When it is completed, various “Smart City Seoul” schemes can be implemented throughout Seoul: such as “Sharing Parking” that uses IoT sensors attached to the grounds of the parking lots; “Smart Street Lights” that automatically report to police when an emergency situation is detected; and “IoT-based Missing Prevention System” that uses GPS information of elderly people suffering from dementia and children. It is also expected that the city government will speed up the collection and utilization of urban data that is needed to make policies for citizens.
Globally, the number of IoTs is expected to increase about three-fold from about 4.9 billion in 2015 to around 20.8 billion in 2020. In addition, a hyper-connected society is accelerating, with the number of IoTs per person also rising from 0.7 in 2015 to 2.7 in 2020.