You can experience the local culture, meet with faraway family members, and sell local specialty products - all online.
This is Korea's Information Network Village called INVIL.
Just because you are too old or live in the countryside doesn't mean you have to be computer illiterate. Perish the notion. INVIL is a new paradigm for rural areas, enabling its users to become reporters dispensing local news and even online retailers.
INVIL seeks to achieve balanced national development by creating a foundation for growth based on IT such as PCs, broadband and IT training for local residents.
There are now 363 INVILs in Korea.
Each INVIL organizes its own steering committee, trains its residents, operates their own Internet Homepage, and directly trades local products.
Local villagers have been emboldened with the belief that they can live better through their own efforts.
After INVIL, PC Penetration rose to 72.1% and Internet Subscription rate reached 66.5%.
Also profits have increased by eliminating the middle margin amounting to 56% on average.
Non farming related income for INVILs increased in the last 3 years from 4 million dollars in 2007 to nearly 20 million dollars in 2010.
2010 was another turning point for the INVIL project.
The first video reunion of Vietnamese women married to Korean men took place that year.
To see and talk with family back home while living in an environment with differing language and culture is like a dream and a happy occasion indeed.
The expansion of the INVILS contributed greatly to making this possible.
In February, 2011 a Brunei delegation headed by the Minister of Energy visited the INVIL in Yangpyeong.
The INVIL called Borigoge is where you can take time off your busy schedule and experience life in the countryside.
The Brunei delegation including the Minister expressed great interest in INVIL.
Over the 2,500 public officials from 103 countries visited INVIL to benchmark its successful case.
In March 2010, the Japanese Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications visited INVIL
Honduran government officials visited INVIL in February, 2011.
Futhermore, Saga district in Japan has implemented Korea's Information Network Village model since 2010.
The INVIL project has been internationally recognized as a best practice. In 2006, it received an award at the World E-Government Forum held in France. INVIL was showcased as a success case at the 'Dynamic Korea' Policy Forum in Beijing in 2007, the 2008 echallege Exhibition in Sweden, the Local Government Managers Australia(LGMA)Meeting, and the 2009 LMP General Assembly in the Philippines.
From its beginning as a digital inclusion platform for rural areas, the INVIL project has continued to evolve and expanded its horizons to become a growth engine for the local economy as well as a tool for social integration through the multi-cultural video family reunion program.
The experiences and know-how garnered in the past decade through the INVIL project can serve as a guide or model that can contribute to global digital inclusion efforts.
In 2011, Korea's INVIL project is poised to take the next big step in partnership with the global community and contribute to realizing balanced development among rural and urban areas, and the world.