North Korea's new airport has an Internet room with no Internet

Internet use in the secretive country strictly policed

North Korea's New Airport Has an 'Internet Room'—with No Internet

Pyongyang's shiny new airport building has all the features international travellers have come to expect. However, on closer inspection one facility appears to be missing something: the Internet room has no... Internet.

According to a report by an Associated Press journalist who visited the airport, reported in the New York Post, any attempts to get online in the Internet room were fruitless.

The room's three terminals were either occupied by North Korean airport employees, making it impossible for others to use them, or were completely empty, with their keyboards removed. Attempts to open any browser with a mouse resulted in a failure to connect.

Internet access at the airport would seem like quite a concession for a country that is almost completely sealed off from the World Wide Web.

Hardly any North Koreans have personal-use computers and most of those with online access can see only the country's domestic version of the Web - an intranet that has only websites that are sanctioned by the government.

The Internet itself can be seen only by a small number of people, IT experts or others with a clear need to use it, and always under close supervision.

Impression of normality

The Internet room at the airport, which opened a few months ago, is just part of efforts there to give visitors the sense that North Korea is just like any other modern travel destination.

Arriving passengers see coffee and well-stocked souvenir shops, a DVD stand, information desk and a slickly produced billboard showing a crew of the nation's flag-carrier, Air Koryo, looking sharp in their blue and red uniforms. There are even two chocolate fountains, one for white chocolate and the other for dark.

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