North Korea will shortly be allowing visiting non-citizens to use their mobile devices to access the internet. Its own citizens, however, will still be barred from the greater Web.
Koryolink, a joint venture between Korea Post & Telecommunications Corporation and Egypt’s Orascom Telecom Media and Technology Holding SAE, will be providing the 3G mobile internet coverage by March 1 at the latest. This is the second loosening of the state’s grip on communication, coming just a few weeks after the country began allowing foreigners to bring their cell phones into the country.
Only certain services will be available to North Koreans on the network, including SMS and MMS messaging and access to the state-run newspaper. The rest of the World Wide Web, however, remains accessible only to a handful of approved citizens.
Despite the grim stipulations, this is exciting news for a country which has been in near-complete isolation for over 50 years. I’m personally very anxious to see what first-hand accounts of life in the enigmatic state might sprout up on the ‘net now that people can freely tweet and connect to Youtube from inside the country.
via [Associated Press on ABC]