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Japanese ISP Launches Worlds Fastest 2Gbps Home FTTH Broadband

Monday, Apr 15th, 2013 (5:20 pm) - Score 7,957

Japanese ISP So-net, which is supported by Sony and launched its first Internet connection services in 1996, appears to have introduced one of the world’s fastest live commercial Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) based broadband packages with a download speed of 2Gbps (1Gbps uploads) or around 2,000Mbps in megabits.

The new service, which is based off the common Gigabit Passive Optics Networks (GPON) platform and appears designed to make people in other countries feel very jealous, costs ¥4,980 (£33) per month on a 24 month contract and ¥52,500 (£350) to install (currently being offered for free).

Invariably comparisons with the UK, which at the last count had around 200,000 FTTH style connections (we’re mostly focused on cheaper/slower hybrid-fibre FTTC and FTTN solutions), will be made. But it’s important to remember that Japan has put a lot of investment into its national fibre optic network and its cities are easier to connect with their dense and tightly packed apartments.

Services offering speeds of 1Gbps are already becoming common in Japan and the FTTH Council recently claimed that market penetration of FTTH and the similar FTTB solution had reached more than 42% of Japanese homes. At the same time Japan also has a growing appetite for technically slower 4G (LTE) based mobile broadband services, so much so that last year some FTTH ISPs were allegedly forced to cut their prices in order to compete. Speed isn’t everything.

Another problem for Japan is the fact that the vast.. vast majority of internet services simply don’t run at anything even close to 2Gbps, let alone 1Gbps, and in fact many would still struggle to take advantage of a 100Mbps+ link. Similarly a lot of consumer network adapters might also strain under the 2Gbps speed and that’s before we even consider WiFi.

Meanwhile real-world speeds also tend to fall someway short of the headline rates, which can be due to all sorts of different factors (e.g. network congestion, the choice of a slower package etc.). Akamai’s content delivery network reported an average download speed for Japan of just 10.5Mbps (Megabits per second) in Q3-2012 (here). Similarly Ookla’s usually over-optimistic (Speedtest.net) data suggests that the country as a whole has an average download of 30.89Mbps and the fastest city is Fukui on 141.99Mbps.

Never the less the Japanese do love their speed and there’s clearly an appetite for ultra-mega-hyperfast (whatever they call it there) connectivity, even if they don’t or can’t always deliver upon that promise.. yet. Now back to our humble 9Mbps link at home, which Ofcom says is apparently about average for the UK.. meh.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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