It was only last month that North Korea decided it would allow visiting foreigners to surf the Internet, tweet, and Skype from mobile devices. As AP reported:
Koryolink, a joint venture between Korea Post & Telecommunications Corporation and Egypt’s Orascom Telecom Media and Technology Holding SAE, informed foreign residents in Pyongyang on Friday that it will launch a third generation, or 3G, mobile Internet service no later than March 1.
We now have proof that this service is indeed enabled — and without need for a VPN. In the above video, Hannah Barraclough of Koryo Tours sends her regards from a hotel at Mount Myonghang. On the other end back at the Beijing office is Vicky Mohieddeen.
“The expansion of cellphone and Internet services — at least for foreigners — comes as North Korea promotes the development of science and technology as a means of improving its moribund economy,” wrote AP’s Jean Lee.
But meanwhile, according to Business Insider, as few as “a few hundred people” — and “maybe 1,000 at most, analysts estimate” — in North Korea have “full-blown Internet.” Maybe 605, according to this handy Wikipedia chart. Contrast with China, which has somewhere north of 500 million Internet users.
To get you caught up with all the latest DPRK Internet stories, the government has also recently accused South Korean and American agents of messing with its small slice of cyberspace. According to AP:
Foreigners in Pyongyang reported no Internet access Wednesday and Thursday. The Bangkok-based company that operates North Korea’s Internet confirms a cyberattack but says networks are normal Friday.
South Korea denies the allegation. The U.S. military declined to comment. A security expert says cyberattack investigations can take months, and that individual hackers are more likely to blame than governments in this case.
Classic tree falling in a forest. Finally, here’s a reminder that, if anyone in North Korea is online, they’re most definitely not using China’s Liebao browser.