North Korea Emnbraces a Modern Staple With Lousy Airport WiFi

By Stephan at Flickr and [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons

North Korea is advancing to slowly embrace modern technology. However, it is not in the ways that people might like. Eric Talmadge of the AP has discovered that the airport of Pyongyang now has WiFi, with $2 getting users 30 minutes of online time. However, just like most airport hotspots, it does not seem to be usable — Talmadge could not get a valid login even after asking for the help of a supervisor, and it had a hard time opening a page in the process. It is not clear whether this incident as a one-time problem or if it is reflective of poor maintenance. However, the signal is definitely there.

Not that the WiFi of the airport is possible to get a lot of use, or that users would necessarily want to make use of it. When only having a device with active WiFi can usually lead to jail time or fines, most of the people of North Korea cannot even consider utilising it — if the people could afford the necessary devices, of course. And even if the users did manage to get online, they would likely be using a tightly monitored, highly censored, and overall very limited connection. In other words, while it is a notable gesture, it would be much nicer if the everyday people of North Korea could enjoy unrestricted WiFi wherever they may be.