DSL in Japan

To quote from Arstechnica’s article comparing various national broadband policies:

The government requires local loop unbundling so that new ISPs can emerge without having to rewire the last mile every time. The government also has a 34 percent stake in NTT, one of the major telecoms, and has ordered it to deploy fiber whether or not it shows a profit; broadband is considered a key piece of infrastructure that can’t simply be deployed only where it is profitable. The government also subsidizes a third of the cost of all fiber-to-the-home deployments in rural areas, where rolling out new lines can prove terribly expensive. The result is one of the fastest broadband networks in the world at one of the lowest price-per-megabit points anywhere.

I ordered DSL at a KDDI/AU retail shop just after I moved into my apartment, around the 2nd of the month. Last night I finally got the letter confirming my request, and notifying me of the installation date: May 29th. Why does it take so long? Well, as you may realize from the above paragraph, despite a plethora of service providers, the local loop is still owned by the quasi-government monopoly telecom company of NTT, and regardless of who you subscribe with, only NTT is allowed to actually hook up your line. While the freedom of provider choice-which has all but vanished in the US, except for competition between entirely different categories of service such as a having one cable and one dsl provider in the same city-is nice, I feel as if they could futher streamline the NTT-reliant installation procedure.

8 thoughts on “DSL in Japan”

  1. The same is true for the attempted half-ass privatization of the electricity markets in Japan.

    Too bad tho that high-speed broadband has yet to make it to the sticks. I am waiting to build my winter 別荘 in Amami Oshima and my summer 別荘 in Furano, Hokkaido for when I can get genuine high-speed internet.

  2. There is a problem with your post. Namely, AUひかりONE is an independent network and not part of the NTT network. For example with my ISP (Asahi Net) you can choose to be on NTT (FLET’S) or on AU’s ひかりONE for fiber internet. They only offer NTT for ADSL however, since it’s old technology and not in demand in major population centers.

    Also, DSL isn’t the same thing as fiber-to-the-home, although some アパート will use VDSL internally to distribute to the various units.

  3. Jarvik, I ordered DSL, not fiber optic. I haven’t looked into it so I actually don’t know whether NTT is involved in any way if you order fiber from another company, but in the case of DSL, it ALWAYS goes over the local line owned by NTT, regardless of who your backbone provider is. Nowhere in my post or in the Ars article is DSL and fiber being conflated, although perhaps you were confused by the way they mentioned local loop unbundling (for DSL) and then fiber. If you look again, they are merely being referred to as aspects of the same broadband strategy, not the same technology.

  4. Curzon, high speed lines may very well never make it to rural areas. DSL fundamentally can only work at a range of a few km from the switching office, and laying fiber for an individual building is absurdly expensive. However, terrestrial wireless such as AU’s high speed network for PCs might work, or you can wait for the rural-oriented satellite internet mentioned in this article just today to become commercially available.


  5. The satellite thing seems interesting, there’s been residential satellite connections in Italy for a few years but it’s sucktacular due to the upload stream being on a normal 56k line (or isdn tops). Some alternative isp’s do terrestrial wireless for rural areas, but again the speed isn’t great.

  6. AU and some other companies offer PC adapters, both USB and PC-card format, to connect to their data networks. I believe speeds go up to like 3mbps download and a few hundred kbps upload, which isn’t FAST, but as good as the DSL available in some countries, or even much of the US. Unlimited usage is something like 5000 or 6000 yen/month.

    Because I have no DSL at home I’m in a manga/net cafe now and a dude is fucking SNORING here! I just dropped an ashtray on the right floor by his chair to try and wake him up, and no reaction at all from him- incidentally one of the most fat and sloppy Japanese men I have ever seen.

  7. I’ve been using an HSDPA adapter i got with my eeepc for a couple of months. The adapter worked out at €80 so not exactly cheap, but the connection on a good day does 3.2 up 1 down, and it’s €8 a month (although you’re capped at 500mb in total traffic for both streams, but I’m not on the move very much so it’s not an issue).
    Of course as soon as you leave the city the connection drops down to lowly EDGE or GPRS…

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