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Launch IPTV First, then Regulate Later

South Korea should launch IP television services despite lagging on regulatory structure, according to Information and Communication Minister Chin Dae-je. "In other countries, IPTV operators can start business by simply reporting to authorities, but in South Korea it is quite difficult. We need to let IPTV start first and then consider how to regulate the new convergence service," he told reporters, worried that the ministry's latest pet project might face further delays.

Initial launch plans were stymied earlier this year amid strong opposition by cable operators, which face the prospect of telecom carriers taking them on in the video stakes.

"Unlike in other countries, IPTV in South Korea is subject to broadcasting law. Each stakeholder has to try to find common ground and get the new service off the ground," Chin said, suggesting that regulatory issues might be resolved by calling IP television "Internet media," brushing aside questions of it being a broadcasting or communications service. More than a quarter of the South Korean population has broadband Internet access.

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