Using a fibre connection in Japan is the most common way of accessing the internet. Why are we so far behind?
While we argue over government investment in the National Broadband Network, in many parts of the world it's happening of its own accord. In Hong Kong, Korea and Japan, TV advertisements for fibre to the home are becoming more and more common .
Japan is often cited as a country that is leaps and bounds ahead of the rest in terms of the penetration of fibre to the home. The latest OECD figures from a year ago pegged the level of fibre penetration at around 50 per cent of all Japanese broadband connections.
In this edition of Twisted Wire, George Hoffman, the group manager for the communications sector at IDC Japan, says the figures are higher now, although the rate of growth has slowed. The price is normally around $10 more than an ADSL connection and, as you might expect, demand for ADSL and VDSL is dwindling.
So what is driving this phenomenal growth in Japan? It's nothing to do with government investment, or even latent demand from a net-savvy population. As you'll discover, it's driven more by the suppliers, who are making considerable operational cost savings by laying fibre.