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Japanese ISP Launches Worlds Fastest 2Gbps Home FTTH Broadband

Monday, April 15th, 2013 (5:20 pm) - Score 7,845

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 Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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17 Responses
  1. Kyle says:

    That’s how it’s done! Futureproofing at it’s best.

  2. Breaks a major contention management rule, basically they are giving one person almost all the GPON capacity, so contention will kick nicely if you get 2 x 2 Gbps customers.

    More boys and their mine is bigger than yours bragging than real service innovation.

    1. Ignitionnet says:

      Doesn’t break any contention management rule, there are none in the wider world even if there are on the Openreach network in the UK.

      Japan runs on 32 homes per OLT port and the odds of the port getting fully used at any point are low due to this.

      This ignores the potential for issues elsewhere in the operator network and indeed the wider Internet.

      Contention is an expected part of broadband in Japan and indeed everywhere else where there are very high headline data rates. All part of the package of not paying that much to receive a great deal.

      Here, of course, headline data rates are for the most part relatively moderate and we complain like crazy when contention kicks in 🙂

    2. Ignitionnet says:

      One thing that is worth considering though is how many people have home devices that are capable of testing this performance out?

      Home networking equipment at 10Gb isn’t exactly plentiful, and SSDs or RAID spinning disks would definitely be essential to store data at those rates.

      It’s an interesting service nonetheless and it’ll be fascinating to see how heavy the uptake is.

      I wouldn’t say no to running an iperf or two on it.

    3. Darren says:

      A few years ago you would need several SSDs/HDDs but now a single SSD or just two HDDs woulb be enough to cope with the 256MB/s max.

      “One thing that is worth considering though is how many people have home devices that are capable of testing this performance out?”
      You don’t necessarily need 10Gb do you? Isn’t it possible to bond two 1 Gigabit cards. I’m sure I’ve seen people do that to improve speed to their NAS. Or a couple of PC’s with Gigabit ethernet and you could max it.

    4. Ignitionnet says:

      I presume you would still need a 10GbE port to connect to the CPE, unless it’s using portchannelled GbE.

    5. Darren says:

      Yeah, if your using a seperate router but not if the CPE was also a router and provided multiple GbE ports.

  3. Anonymous says:

    England can only dream about ISP like this because its never gonna happen you just have to get used to old crappy ISP via telephone line. where other countries moving not staying in one place like UK.

    1. FibreFred says:

      Its just GPON which is what Fibre to the Premises on Demand uses so… its not a dream.

      But there’s simply no demand for 2 or 1Gbps, even in Japan

    2. New_Londoner says:

      Au contraire Anonymous! IIRC a 10Gbps broadband service is currently being tested in Cornwall.

    3. Ignitionnet says:

      Interesting ‘broadband service’ given the XGPON kit wasn’t connected to the Internet.

      It was a technical trial of XGPON, not a trial of a broadband service.

  4. Darren says:

    Looks like Japan don’t have any lucrative leased lines to protect.

    Hehe, forget running a website from home, start your own ISP.

  5. Phil says:

    UK are always behind USA and Japan. UK won’t be getting 2Gbps FTTH for another 100 years!

    1. New_Londoner says:

      As posted above, 10 Gbps broadband is already being trialled here. And judging by the Akamai reports, contention on Japanese broadband must be pretty bad as the average speed, peak performance etc are well own on these headline speeds, in fact are well under the average delivered by FTTC in the UK.

  6. zemadeiran says:

    Something which no one here has taken into account is the fact that the only country that I know of that speaks Japanese is Japan!

    This would explain the national consumption of bandwidth and it’s requirement.

    In simple terms the Japanese are pulling Japanese content 99%, from Japanese servers located in (you guessed it) Japan….

    They handle 1gbps+ connections due to the extremely fat pipes connecting Japan and it’s surrounding islands.

    Now how many countries use English as their primary language along with their like for worldwide English content?

    You guy’s see my point?

    1. Ignitionnet says:

      I was with you until, in a post about languages, you used an apostrophe to pluralise something.

      Japanese in common with many outside the English speaking world also consume content in English, and in common with most of the world they have relatively limited bandwidth outside of their own country. We are an exception to the rule, alongside a few other countries in Western Europe, having huge amounts of bandwidth both East and West due to our location in between continental Europe, Eurasia, and North America.

    2. zemadeiran says:

      Thank you for pointing out such a foible…

      I will now go and punish myself by slicing into my left buttock and there after sit in a bowl of vinegar mixed with sea salt.

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