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Infrastructure Development as the Foundation of Korea’s E-Government

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Infrastructure Development as the Foundation of Korea’s E-Government06



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Title Infrastructure Development as the Foundation of Korea’s E-Government
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Material Type Reports
Date 2015
Language Korean
File Type Theme
Subject Government and Law < Governance
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Abstract

Sub-Theme 3 l Infrastructure Development as the Foundation of Korea’s E-Government





ICT Infrastructure as a Paved Road for E-Government



In the course of pursuing E-Government initiatives, governments can not only computerize and digitize administrative procedures, but also stimulate ICT investment and meet the demands of other sectors through ICT procurement and public-private partnerships. Many of the best E-Government performers in Asia such as Korea and Singapore took advantage of E-Government initiatives for the promotion of ICT infrastructure and ICT investment. For example, the Korean government launched the Korea Information Infrastructure (KII) Plan in 1994. With this plan, the Korean government established the Korea Information Infrastructure E-Government (KII-G), and the Korea Information Infrastructure-Public Sector (KII-P).
##LINK_POPUP##Backed by a government-driven model[23],##MAINTITLE:Backed by a government-driven model##TITLE:##CONTENT:There are three different models in developing and constructing infrastructure:

(1) The Private Sector–Driven Model

(2) The Cooperative Model

(3) The Government-Driven Model (Lallana, 2004).

The private sector-driven model basically relies on the private sector to build information infrastructure with minimal involvement of government. This model is found in Switzerland and New Zealand in their broadband infrastructure development. The government’s role is often limited to the formation and operation of the regulatory framework and related institutional arrangements to ensure market competition and private actors’ activities. The cooperative model allows the private sector to take the leading role, while the government takes responsibility for rural and remote areas as well as public-purpose applications. This model has been adopted by the United Kingdom and the United States for broadband infrastructure development.##LINK_POPUP_END##  the Korean government took a leading role in forming and driving government-industry coordination for the establishment of ICT infrastructure. Because developing ICT infrastructure often requires long-term commitment and policy coordination among different agencies, the Korean case suggests that a strong and active role on the part of government is an effective approach to the construction of ICT infrastructure, while effective and well-structured collaboration with private actors is also critical.



Financial Infrastructure for Investing in E-Government Projects

The Korean government also played a critical role in developing a national informatization plan and making initial infrastructure investments. Based on the Framework Act of National Informatization of 1995, the Korean government established the ##LINK_POPUP##National Informatization Promotion Fund[24]##MAINTITLE:National Informatization Promotion Fund##TITLE:Korea’s National Informatization Promotion Fund##CONTENT:Based on the Framework Act of National Informatization of 1995, the Korean government established the National Informatization Promotion Fund to support activities aimed at the establishment of the ICT industry, ICT infrastructure, E-Government, and research and development. The fund was used to implement the Master Plan for Informatization Promotion (1996) and Cyber Korea 21 (1999). The fund was established with contributions from the government (about 40%), private telecommunication companies (45%), and private interests and other miscellaneous sources (14%). The fund succeeded the National Informatization Support Fund (1993–1995), which was established based on the Act of ICT Research and Development. The National Informatization Promotion Fund contributed greatly to the establishment of initial infrastructure and the ICT business environment as well as to ICT research and development. Unlike the annually appropriated budget, the government was able to use the fund for national informatization projects more flexibly and strategically. For example, the government spent US$5.33 billion between 1994 and 2003 for ICT research and development (38%), informatization promotion (20%), ICT human resources development (18%), broadband infrastructure and promotion (15.1%), and infrastructure for the ICT industry (7%) and standardization (3%) (Suh and Chen, 2007). The fund played a critical role in the initial establishment of Korean informatization projects in the 1990s and 2000s, when ICT projects were driven by the government.



The fund enabled the government to finance initial ICT-related projects flexibly and preemptively in the 1990s and 2000s. Using the fund, for example, the Korean government established basic infrastructure such as the Internet Super Highway (155M~5Gbps), the Education Internet Connection Project for 10,400 primary and secondary schools, E-Government projects, etc. The fund also supported the establishment of the ICT business environment and initial start-ups for ICT venture capitals. Upon the establishment and usage of the fund, the growth rate of ICT contribution to GDP increased from 8.6% in 1997 to 12.9% in 2001. In addition, the fund stimulated ICT research and development projects. Using 1.6 billion Korean won, Korea developed ATM and succeeded with the commercialization of CDMA for the first time in the world. The fund also helped train and educate ICT human resources. In the initial period (1997–2001), 0.7 billion Korean won was spent to train and educate 749,493 ICT personnel, including 15,598 master’s degree or doctoral degree holders.



Despite the fund’s major contributions to national informatization projects, the Korean government nonetheless faced a number of challenges and issues in the course of operating the fund. While the fund allowed the Korean government to support the targeted ICT industry and ICT capacity-building projects with financial flexibility and without government budget constraints, the government was continually criticized for inefficient and misuse of the fund.

The fund was established with contributions from the government (about 40%), private telecommunication companies (45%), and private interests and other miscellaneous sources (15%).The government spent US$5.33 billion between 1994 and 2003 for ICT research and development (38%), informatization promotion (20%), ICT human resource development (18%), broadband infrastructure and promotion (15%), and infrastructure for the ICT industry (7%) and standardization (3%).##LINK_POPUP_END## to support a set of activities for the establishment of ICT infrastructure, E-Government, the ICT industry, and ICT R&D projects.

##MORE_LAYER_BOX##A long-term and large-scale investment is particularly significant for the establishment of ICT infrastructure. Without a specific financing mechanism, informatization initiatives cannot be realized. It is imperative to assess various financing alternatives and sources (public sources, private sources, and public-private joint sources) and ensure that funding is available particularly for backbone infrastructure development. It is critical at least at the initial stage for governments to put financial priority on ICT infrastructure among various national agendas because ICT infrastructure is a pivotal social infrastructure. Government needs to make a financial commitment through budget appropriations or to actively search for public-private partnerships or attract private investment in the ICT sector. In addition to continued increases in budget appropriations for national informatization, the Korean government established a separate ##LINK_POPUP##National Informatization Promotion Fund in 1996.##MAINTITLE:Korea’s National Informatization Promotion Fund##TITLE:Korea’s National Informatization Promotion Fund##CONTENT:Based on the Framework Act of National Informatization of 1995, the Korean government established the National Informatization Promotion Fund to support activities aimed at the establishment of the ICT industry, ICT infrastructure, E-Government, and research and development. The fund was used to implement the Master Plan for Informatization Promotion (1996) and Cyber Korea 21 (1999). The fund was established with contributions from the government (about 40%), private telecommunication companies (45%), and private interests and other miscellaneous sources (14%). The fund succeeded the National Informatization Support Fund (1993–1995), which was established based on the Act of ICT Research and Development. The National Informatization Promotion Fund contributed greatly to the establishment of initial infrastructure and the ICT business environment as well as to ICT research and development. Unlike the annually appropriated budget, the government was able to use the fund for national informatization projects more flexibly and strategically. For example, the government spent US$5.33 billion between 1994 and 2003 for ICT research and development (38%), informatization promotion (20%), ICT human resources development (18%), broadband infrastructure and promotion (15.1%), and infrastructure for the ICT industry (7%) and standardization (3%) (Suh and Chen, 2007). The fund played a critical role in the initial establishment of Korean informatization projects in the 1990s and 2000s, when ICT projects were driven by the government.



The fund enabled the government to finance initial ICT-related projects flexibly and preemptively in the 1990s and 2000s. Using the fund, for example, the Korean government established basic infrastructure such as the Internet Super Highway (155M~5Gbps), the Education Internet Connection Project for 10,400 primary and secondary schools, E-Government projects, etc. The fund also supported the establishment of the ICT business environment and initial start-ups for ICT venture capitals. Upon the establishment and usage of the fund, the growth rate of ICT contribution to GDP increased from 8.6% in 1997 to 12.9% in 2001. In addition, the fund stimulated ICT research and development projects. Using 1.6 billion Korean won, Korea developed ATM and succeeded with the commercialization of CDMA for the first time in the world. The fund also helped train and educate ICT human resources. In the initial period (1997–2001), 0.7 billion Korean won was spent to train and educate 749,493 ICT personnel, including 15,598 master’s degree or doctoral degree holders.



Despite the fund’s major contributions to national informatization projects, the Korean government nonetheless faced a number of challenges and issues in the course of operating the fund. While the fund allowed the Korean government to support the targeted ICT industry and ICT capacity-building projects with financial flexibility and without government budget constraints, the government was continually criticized for inefficient and misuse of the fund.##LINK_POPUP_END####MORE_LAYER_BOX_END##



Administrative Infrastructure: National Identification Infrastructure as a Linchpin



One of the essential parts of integrating different databases for E-Government services is finding a common linking point. A National ID system is a key aspect of E-Government in that various pieces of information or different databases are often integrated using the National ID numbers of individual citizens. Fortunately, the Korean government assigns a unique 13-digit Residence Registration Number (RRN) to each individual based upon his or her birth registration. The unique 13-digit numbers are determined based on birthday, gender, metro city or province of residence, and town or village of residence. The number also includes a check digit as the thirteenth number which checks whether all the previous 12 numbers are correct.

##MORE_LAYER_BOX##Korea’s RRN system was originally introduced as a way to distinguish South Korean citizens from potential spies from North Korea after 12 guerillas were sent to assassinate President Park Chung-hee on January 21, 1968. It was put in place on November 21, 1968. Under the RRN all citizens over 18 years are assigned unique 13-digit numbers and issued residence registration cards.

The RRN is systematically managed by the Korean government and allows for easy integration of different databases and services because any piece of personal information can be identified by the RRN and each piece of information can be merged and integrated based on the number. For example, the RRN is used as a linchpin to integrate different databases for various E-Government systems.##MORE_LAYER_BOX_END##