Super high speed in Japan

Earlier this month, our Japanese colleagues in the Union Network International telecom sector provided us with an overview of high-speed networks in Japan. It is amazing!
94% of Japanese households have access to basic broadband. For just $10, people have internet speeds greater than 1.5 mbps downstream, 500 kbps upstream. 80% of Japanese households have access to "super high speed" fiber-to-the-home networks, defined as greater than 30 mbps down, 10 mbps up. These networks can deliver up to 100 mbps, and cost $35-40/month.
If these numbers don't mean anything to you, consider this: in the US, high speed Internet most often ranges from 1 to 3 Mbps download and 50-384 Kbps upload. The difference between the speeds--and prices--of the US and Japan is striking.
But they're not stopping there. Universal service initiatives in Japan aim to reach the 3 million households in high-cost outlying islands/rural areas that don't have high speed Internet.
How did the Japanese do this? A big part of the answer is that the government made investment in high-speed networks a priority, and put their money where their mouth is.
The Japanese Government supports private companies that make capital investments in broadband access networks, including FTTH, in four ways. First, they provide low-interest loans from the Development Bank of Japan. Second, they provide subsidies for interest payments on these low-interest loans provided by National Institute of Information and Communications (NICT). Third, they also provide debt guarantees. And fourth, they provide a 5% special accelerated depreciation rate for FTTH aquisition costs and reduced local property taxes spread out over 5 years.
We're listening to our union brothers and sisters overseas about the steps their employers and governments are taking to build high speed infrastructures. But the time has come to do more than listen--it's time for action here at home.

Union Network International Telecom Sector
CNN: In Japan, broadband moves toward ubiquity

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