The "Internet Room" in North Korea's New Airport Doesn't Have Any Internet

By Matt Novak on at

North Korea has recently made an effort to boost tourism in the authoritarian country. One tactic is the opening of a shiny new airport, complete with modern amenities like an “internet room.” The only problem? The internet room doesn’t seem to have any internet.

The Guardian reports:

On two recent trips through the airport, the room’s three terminals were either occupied by airport employees, making it impossible for others to use them, or were completely empty – with their keyboards removed.

Maybe it was a temporary glitch. It’s hard to say, since airport officials have refused to comment.

But even if travellers were able to get online, there probably wouldn’t be much to see. Officially, just a small handful of top North Korean officials have access to the entire internet. For the average person, checking the internet is usually done on a mobile phone and only consists of pages that include things like weather news, train schedules, and currency prices.

“For locals of course they don’t have access to the general internet, but I would say they have more like 10 per cent of it,” one Egyptian telecom director who worked on North Korea’s internet recently told NK News. “(Because) the North Koreans try to simulate whatever exists in the outside world, but in a better way.”

All things considered, a lack of internet might be the least of your worries if you’re travelling through North Korea’s new airport. This week Air Koryo, the country’s official airline, was ranked the worst airline in the world for the fourth year in a row.

(AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)