Would *you* pay the $20 cost to get 160mbps internet at home?

Read an article just now in the New York Times. It seems that there is a very interesting offering being delivered in Japan that makes it all the more apparent that the cable companies are purposely limiting broadband speeds from what I (and many others) believe is a strategic attempt to protect their cable TV delivery franchises by limiting video, TV and movie delivery over the internet.

J:Com, a Japanese cable company (with TV, net and telephony services), is delivering 160mbps internet service at a cost to J:Com of network upgrades of $20 per home!

At my office, I have Comcast’s DOCSIS 3.0 service that runs at 50mbps download speed and 10mbps upload speed. While blazingly fast compared to the 16mbps down/2mbps up speed I have at home, it took an installer over an hour to hook up the Cisco box (about the size of an audio receiver) and the modem. Apparently J:Com’s service requires just a modem which is a self-upgrade (they just ship you the modem or you pick it up at one of their stores).

  • J:Com’s pricing for the 160mbps download and 10mbps upload is 6,000 YEN (US$60) per month with no bandwidth cap.
  • Comcast’s pricing for the 50mbps download and 10mbps upload is US$139.95. A 250GB monthly bandwidth cap is in force, regardless of which Comcast tier of service you buy.

Makes you wonder about the slow upgrading of current US cable networks — especially if it really is as cheap as $20 per home like the article states — which makes my tinfoil hat paranoid assumption (that the cable companies are protecting their TV delivery franchises over the public good as I stated in this post) all the more valid.

World’s Fastest Broadband at $20 Per Home
By Saul Hansell

If you get excited about the prospect of really, really fast broadband Internet service, here’s a statistic that will make heart race. Or your
blood boil. Or both.

Pretty much the fastest consumer broadband in the world is the 160-megabit-per-second service offered by J:Com, the largest cable company in Japan. Here’s how much the company had to invest to upgrade its network to provide that speed: $20 per home passed.

Read the full article here.


  1. Savi Vila on April 4, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    Top Ten for this price:
    Top quality broadband nations:
    1. Japan
    2. Sweden
    3. Netherlands
    4. Latvia
    5. Korea
    6. Switzerland
    7. Lithuania
    8. Denmark
    9. Germany
    10. Slovenia

    In Netherlands, for near $60 Power Fiber brings 720mbps. USA is not in the top 10 and with 120 could be at the 5th place. Is so shame, because with the emergence of the smart phones, all the things that COMCAST, AT&T does not allows [p2p, video streaming, and so on] we does not have chance to succeed. By far Japan is light years ahead USA.


    Savi Vila

  2. Brian G on April 6, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    Steve, good work staying on top of the current broadband changes. I believe comparing the cost of upgrading a broadband network in Japan to the U.S. is flawed mainly due to population density. If you look at Wikipedia you will find that Japan’s population density is 10x higher than the U.S. making it easier to reach a large portion of the population with broadband.

    Density (Pop per km²)
    #31 Japan: 339
    #177 U.S.: 31

    It’s a shame that the U.S. lags behind Japan, France, South Korea and a host of other countries for offering fast and affordable broadband. Hopefully, Comcast and other broadband providers start to come to grips with the inevitable fact that they will be strongly positioned as being pipe providers for life, not flashy network and content owners. That model should suit them well in years to come as their networks mature and upgrades are less expensive. For now they must cope with the expensive and major upgrades while resisting the move to stifle broadband usage.

  3. Christopher Mitchell on April 14, 2009 at 10:38 am

    I hate arguments based on density.

    Our most dense areas still cannot compare with the less dense areas of Japan when it comes to broadband speeds. Density is a factor, but not anywhere close to the most important one.

    Some areas of the U.S. have invested in very fast networks – Lafayette, Louisiana. Burlington, Vermont – I know that some have said they only offer a 7/7 or 8/8 or whatever, but the truth is that if you need faster you can get it with a simple phone call. They put the community and economic development ahead of profits. As they do in Japan.

    We can do it here, but we need enough people to pass a 65% supermajority to fund it. We are not prohibited from doing it, it is just hard.

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Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.