KT Fire Incident Reveals Internet-Dependent Society
KT Fire Incident Reveals Internet-Dependent Society
  • Reporter Lee Seung-Joo
  • 승인 2019.01.05 00:01
  • 댓글 0
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▲The notice that reads "due to the KT Fire Incident, we only accept cash or direct bank transfer" attached to many doors
▲The notice that reads "due to the KT Fire Incident, we only accept cash or direct bank transfer" attached to many doors

On Nov. 24, certain regions including the Mapo-gu, Seodaemun-gu, Eunpyeong-gu of Seoul were entirely paralyzed due to a fire incident that took place in the KT Cable Tunnel in AhHyun Station. All KT telecom users in these specific regions, automatic telling machines, some kiosk machines, cash register, and etc. were disabled. 

The fire brought inconvenience to one of Seoul’s most overpopulated area. People, regardless of situation, couldn’t contact each other or use the internet to access search engines, social network system, and etc. However, these damages only turned out to be the tip of an iceberg.

The loss of internet costed the profits of many merchants, malfunction in many police stations and hospital emergency stations’ hotline. Due to this, few urgent patients in need of treatment could not access necessary measures and passed away.

After this incident, many KT users switched to other telecom service such as SKT or LG U+, other Korean telecom service companies after hearing the news that the internet facility won’t be completely recovered for a few days. Statistics show that on Nov. 26, two days after the fire, 678 users have ceased using KT, which is somewhat significant when compared to the 70 unsubscribed user the day before the accident (Nov. 23). 

The station in Ahhyun St. that caught on fire is ranked class D among A, B, C, D which is valued according to the influence it holds towards all networks in the Korea peninsula. This, if thoughts reversed, shows how much influence a lowest ranked network station can have such impact on Korean people. Of course, some point out that the Ahhyun station’s telecom station ranking has faults considering the importance and size of the station. However, the point still can be made that it only took one comparably small network station to jeopardize so many people’s daily life.

Korea is famous to have one of the strongest IT features and recently announced the start of a 5G era. IOT (Internet of Things) and Big Data is already becoming common in Korea as everything- including television, refrigerators and even some houses- is connected and managed online, and further innovations are focused mainly on interlinking more facilities. In Korea, and other numerous countries, internet is a crucial element that involves itself in almost every daily life of most citizens. We have become completely internet-dependent and this has made us vulnerable to the world without it. 

However, as the benefits of the internet outweigh greatly the odds, this accident may act as a great opportunity to look back on the fundamentals. One reporter has mentioned that “this accident never should have occurred, but as it already took place, it should be taken as an opportunity to strengthen the basics of next generation’s network system and 4th Industrial Revolution.” As more innovations take place, internet’s value and impact towards our lives will only grow. This means that necessary measures, including back-up plans and strong law enforcements, must be prepared ahead to prevent the occurrence of a second chaos. “The role of the newly established ‘improvement of communication network disaster control system TF’ will be significant”, exclaims one reporter. 

Meanwhile, the ‘improvement of communication network disaster control system TF’ has been formed short after the KT fire incident and has reported that necessary measures dealing with the issues revealed from this accident will be proposed before the end of 2018.