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Faster Internet service holds out many promises for rural areas: a boost to education and health care, a conduit from small-town businesses to a global marketplace.  In South Korea, Internet access supplied via satellite is keeping men and their foreign-born wives on the farm.

Choe Sang-Hun, with the New York Times, reports on how Lee Si-kap of Yeongju, South Korea, is maintaining rural families. Lee collects and dispenses small satellites with which wives from China, Vietnam and the Philippines can keep in contact with their families back home via the Internet.

Outmigration is a major problem in rural South Korea (as it is in the U.S.); young Korean women, especially, are leaving the countryside for work and marriage in cities. Choe writes that 4 out of 10 women who married in rural communities of South Korea last year were foreign born.

“’Thanks to Mr. Lee, I now miss my country, my mother and father less than I used to,’ said Bui Thi Huang, a 22-year-old bride from Haiphong, Vietnam, who now lives here in Yeongju, about 100 miles southeast of Seoul.”

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