DSL in Japan, update

I mentioned the other day how it takes an entire month of waiting to get DSL installed in Japan, due to control of the local loop remaining entirely with the former government monopoly telecom NTT, while service can be provided by a variety of competitors. One of the interesting side effects of this is that no matter who your provider is, the physical line installation at the home is still performed by NTT. And because installation will be performed not by my service provider KDDI, instead of having the installer bring along the modem and accessories, they mail it in advance. I am not sure if this is because NTT refuses to cooperate and deliver the modem for another company’s service, despite being legally obligated to perform the local loop installation required for service connection, or if KDDI (I think Softbank does the same thing, but I forget) has merely decided that it is logistically simpler to send modems through the package delivery infrastructure.

And speaking of the package delivery infrastructure, I was very impressed by Kuroneko Takkyubin’s service. When I got home last night at around 8:30 there was one of those failed delivery notification notices in my mailbox. Oddly, the time written on it was 10 o’clock, which makes not sense at all, since I was at home until around 11am, and it was still well before 10pm. Regardless, the notice had the standard information on how to contact either the automated phone system, the internet website, or a live switchboard operator to schedule redelivery- but also had a somewhat astonishing fourth option: the cell phone number of the delivery truck driver who had attempted delivery that day. Since it said he was reachable until 9pm, I called up, the call was answered instantly, and once I told him my name and address, he said to stay and wait for him. I assumed I would be waiting for several minute, but there was a knock on my door, literally, at most two minutes later!

And thus is customer service in Japan-a melange of impenetrable bureaucracy and inflexible, pointless rules for some things, but in other areas some of the most helpful and convenient services found anywhere.

10 thoughts on “DSL in Japan, update”

  1. It may be that many people already have landlines when they get internet (like me) and so it’s easier to send them directly to everyone rather than work out two lots.

    And those delivery cellphones are indeed useful. Used them a few times myself. They’ll also call ahead of time if they have a COD package to make sure you’re there and have the cash.

  2. Not really sure why you went with DSL when hikari-fiber is almost as cheap and costs nothing to install. I got my hikari-fiber line put into my house without paying anything for the installation and 3 months free service. This is more or less the standard now amongst all the providers since about 3 yrs ago. I assume that the building you live in might have some restrictions about having a hikari-fiber line put in which is why you chose DSL.

    I heard that both Sagawa and Kuroneko Yamato started giving incentives for their delivery guys so they are paid based on how many deliveries they can make in one day rather than by the hour. That’s why recently those guys stay out late so they can close all their deliveries. Not sure if that is true or not but that’s what someone told me.

  3. I’m pretty sure you can’t get fiberoptic in any apartment building that hasn’t been generally wired for it, but you can get DSL anyplace.

    Also, I must assume that the free installation and free months require a contract, and I’m currently living in a cheap hovel until I get around to finding somewhere decent to move in probably 3-4 months so I don’t want to get involved in anything I can’t definitely cancel easily. I guess it’s possible I was wrong and I could’ve just gone with fiber instead, but DSL is plenty fast for now, so I’ll look into the details of fiber when I move into a house.

    No idea about the incentive thing, but according to the delivery slip they’re officially on duty until 9pm, and I got my package around 8:40, so I can’t tell you if they work later.

  4. Well, I have a number of friends who live in mansions and apartments who have fiber and they just had to get permission from their landlord in order to get the line put in. Some landlords might not allow it though.

    You know, before I bought my house I lived in a newly built mansion which had a shared fiber optic line. There were only 20 or so units and each unit had lan ports in all the rooms. The router was hidden in the fuse box. I still had to sign up with the provider which was USEN but the best part was that I only had to sign up to turn it on in my unit. It was absolutely free AND they gave me 5 global IPs to boot. I consistently got around 40-60Mbps up/down speeds which was very nice. I suppose the cost of the Internet was included in the maintenance fee which was really that much to begin with.

    Anyways, the reason I brought that up is because for new mansions this type of service seems to be becoming a standard service so when you move you might want to look for it. If you do a search for 無料インターネットマンション you can find a bunch of resources.

  5. Also, one more thing. You mentioned that fiber optic requires a contract. Yes this is true but you can cancel at any time. They’ll just come and rip out all the wiring when you cancel. The 3 months free period does not obligate you to anything.

    Shops like Bic and Yodobashi often offer big discounts on PCs if you subscribe to a fiber provider when you buy a computer. The sales guys always tell me I should just cancel my current fiber line and get a new one because I have nothing to lose I’d get another 3 months free AND a discount. This doesn’t benefit the provider in the short term but stealing a customer from a competitor is always good for their bottom line in the long run. For me it’s just a big hassle so I don’t bother.

  6. One reason they would be on duty late is because a lot of people don’t get home until late. And with fibre I agree – I’m pretty sure it does require special wiring (fibring?). I remember seeing things urging people to get their landlords to upgrade a few years back. The thing with DSL is that it gets slower the further you are away from an NTT station, but I’ve never found it slow really.

  7. Not sure about Japan, but fibre in Italy is initially laid by the provider, whether or not anyone in the block wants it or not. This means that you can only get fibre if your building has already been hooked up. They will go out of their way to hook an unconnected building up, but only if they get enough guaranteed contracts (min 12 months at €60 a month), so you can be sure that if you live in an independant building and you’re the sole resident you’re pretty much stuck with DSL.

  8. That cell phone number of the driver thing sounds hot. Save me some headaches that I’ve had in the past. I wonder if UPS and Fedex use the number of deliveries bonus method. Good post.

  9. Living in the US, I long for services like Kuroneko! Access to drivers’ cell phones is ideal, but what is more useful is that senders (and receivers if they request re-delivery) can choose a time slot for delivery. They deliver late in the evening. Without such services, single guys cannot fully enjoy Internet shopping.

    And DSL and opt-fiber connections are very costly here.

  10. Depends where in the US. At my dad’s house we got Verizon fiber last year while I was at home, and it wasn’t much more expensive than Japan. If you include the cable TV over fiber bundle, it might even be cheaper, although I’ve never looked at cable prices in Japan since I just don’t care.

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