Internet speeds: The city's mean Internet throughput is 41.4 Mbit/s, according to net measurement company Ookla. Another firm, Akamai, reports that South Korea has the highest average rate of Internet speed in the world at 14.2 Mbit/s, and that a full 50 percent of all connections in South Korea are over 10 Mbit/s. Compare that against the global average of 3.1 Mbit/s reported by Akamai -- or against the 8.2 Mbit/s in Denmark, home of urban paragon Copenhagen.
Table 1: Speed Measurements by Country, Q1 2013
|| Avg. Measured Connection Speed (in Mbit/s)
WiFi: Seoul is also a WiFi-wealthy place. Of South Korea's 2,000 wireless zones, 53 percent are in Seoul. The government is also aggressively building out WiFi nationwide, planning for 12,000 public wireless zones by 2017, with half of those to be in place by 2015 in public health centers and other community locations. Add to this the availability of 4G LTE networking at Incheon Airport and elsewhere.
Innovation: Though Korean laws have been criticized for hindering startups, at least one investor thinks Seoul's unstoppable. Bernard Moon, founder of SparkLabs, a startup accelerator, said in a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal: "Seoul is unique because entrepreneurship is growing and also because it has trendsetter technologies. It’s such a hotbed of urban entrepreneurship."
Why it's one of the greatest: Seoul enjoys one of the finest Internet infrastructures worldwide. Besides that, the culture favors Internet activity. Mobile banking use, for example, rose by 10.2 percent in South Korea overall during the second quarter. There is intense government interest in spreading free WiFi, and startups find the city exciting and inspiring.
What better city to qualify for our list?
Seoul from the air, by night.
(Source: NASA, via Wikimedia)
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