Sept. 28, 2012: Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt arrives for a seminar at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea.AP Photo/Lee Jin-man
Jan. 10, 2013: Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt, center, and former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richards, right, brief journalists after they arrived at Beijing Capital International Airport from Pyongyang, in Beijing.AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan
Jan. 7, 2013: Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, third left, and Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, second left, pose for photos after arriving at an airport in Pyongyang, North Korea.AP Photo/Xinhua, Zhang Li
Jan. 7, 2013: Executive Chairman of Google Eric Schmidt is surrounded by journalists after arriving at Pyongyang International Airport in Pyongyang, North Korea. Schmidt arrived in the North Korean capital, along with former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. Richardson called the trip to North Korea a private humanitarian visit.AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon
Google chairman Eric Schmidt is back from his adventure in North Korea and he’s penned a post on his Google+ page detailing the current state of the country’s technological capabilities and the way it allows citizens to have limited access to the Internet.
In short, North Korea isn’t anywhere close to matching the technological capabilities of its rival South Korea, and the country is incredibly restrictive of the information it allows its citizens to access.
“Overall, the technology in North Korea is very limited right now,” Schmidt wrote. “There is a 3G network that is a joint venture with an Egyptian company called Orascom. It is a 2,100 Megahertz SMS-based technology network, that does not, for example, allow users to have a data connection and use smartphones.”
'Overall, the technology in North Korea is very limited right now.'
- Eric Schmidt
Schmidt also says he told North Korean officials that it was making a major mistake by not giving its citizens access to the open Internet, which he said was a necessity for the country to continue evolving technologically.
“It was obvious to us that access to the Internet… was possible for the government, the military, and universities, but not for the general public,” Schmidt said.
“As the world becomes increasingly connected, the North Korean decision to be virtually isolated is very much going to affect their physical world and their economic growth. It will make it harder for them to catch up economically… It is their choice now, and in my view, it’s time for them to start, or they will remain behind.”
We made [the] alternative very, very clear. Once the Internet starts in any country, citizens in that country can certainly build on top of it, but the government has to do one thing: open up the Internet first."