A couple of new details about Star JV, the company now responsible for North Korea’s connection to the global Internet, came to light this week.
They were included in a report from the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) about the reassignment of the country’s dot-kp domain to Star JV.
The report reveals the mission of the company and its president:
Proposed Sponsoring Organisation and Contacts
The proposed sponsoring organisation is Star Joint Venture Company, based in Pyongyang, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The company is a joint venture between the Korean Post and Telecommunications Corporation, a governmental enterprise; and Loxley Pacific Company Limited. The joint venture is chartered to establish modern Internet services in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
The proposed administrative and technical contact is Kang Yong Su, the President of Star Joint Venture Company. The administrative contact is understood to be based in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Star JV is already beginning to deliver on the mission. In less than a year it’s connected several North Korean websites to the world (see the North Korean Website List for more). What’s actually going on inside North Korea is, as always, a little more difficult to determine.
The company has taken over providing Internet service to foreign residents in Pyongyang, according to analysis of technical data. Whether its creation has resulted in an expansion of Internet access, filtered or otherwise, to North Korean citizens or officials is impossible to tell.
The president, Kang Yong Su, remains a bit of a mystery. I’ve been unable to locate the name in previous news reports, except for a few instances that are likely different people with the same name. If anyone knows anything about him, please e-mail or add something in the comments.
Is this perhaps a consolation prize for Loxley? As Orascom never mentions, it was Loxley who began to develop NK’s first mobile phone – before NK got cold feet and shut it down. They must have lost quite a bit on that episode.