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Fiber to the Home in Japan 143

Ranma sent in this story about a 100Mbps (!) consumer internet service being offered in Japan. Cost: US $40.00/month. Hmmm. I pay more than that for 384K DSL. See also Germany, which is apparently actually offering the much-promised but little-seen internet access over power lines.
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Fiber to the Home in Japan

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Good to have fiber daily:)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    --This is available now in the US in some areas. All you need is the hardware. []
  • by Anonymous Coward
    this is what also keeps your X10 home automation stuff from controlling your neighbors house


    So that's why it didn't work!

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Local phone calls in Australia are _not_ metered. They are a flat 25c per call, and that's anywhere within a state's metropolitain (and often some rural) areas. Anyone who pays that much for dialup is a fool, when you can get unmetered cable (abliet 400kbit/sec) can get it for a mere AUS$75 p/m.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    If it's 100Mb/s coming to you, the limiting factor will be the server transmitting the packets to you. IP packets are like letters: the sender pays for the stamp. That's why Verizon charges the same amount of money for a 768/128 ADSL and a 384/384 SDSL, but the ISPs charge double for the latter. That's because the latter can send twice as much data out.

    If you find a server who is willing and able to send the 100Mb/s to you, you will get the traffic, and the server pays the bill. It seems it costs the server about one dollar per gigabyte transmitted regardless of speed or distance. So the server is likely to charge you, the recipient, about $1 for each minute of 100Mb/s feed.

    Similarly, your ISP is going to collect their dollar per gigabyte when you put your popular family web server on a guaranteed 100Mb/s link.

    Marko [mailto]

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'm living Kanagawa prefecture, next to Tokyo. But only slow & expensive ISDN is avaiable around my home. It's very limited area that 100Mbps connection is avaiable! Even if 100Mbps is available, most people live in apartment, it's not easy to make a hole to wire the fiber! In Japan, most people use sloooooow & expensive ISDN or 56K modem. Even ADSL is not available at most of areas! This is because NTT is dominating telecommunication.
  • Many fears where made about the quality of the backbone. Of course no backbone could handle tons of users each connected with 100 MBit who would leech the biggest downloads out of the web. But this is the common mistake, these services are not intended for this.

    The main idea is to have a webpage loaded very fast with all images, and then you read the webpage, and stop transmitting data. So, you might use the 100 MBit, but you use it only for one or two seconds, and for the next minute dozens of other users can use this bandwidth.

    If you look at the prices, you can clearly see, that this service can not be made for downloading tons of gigabytes. No company could afford such data volumes for such a low price. Of course this services will attract such people, too, but the companies either hope that the other customers will compensate this or they just set a maximum transfer limit into the contracts (eg. 1 GB per Month, which should be reasonably enough for "normal" users).

    So these services actually can work - if the companies offering it have a clue and know how to keep the bandwidth grabbers away.
  • Believe it or not, I actually did consider a 56k modem for uploads for awhile. I let my friends FTP files from my system (and vice versa) and recently @home smacked us with an upload cap so heninous that the TCP ACKs were actually slowing down the connection unacceptably. I couldn't even play online games anymore (on an unladen link) because my upstream traffic was being delayed about 300ms/packet. Worse, the cap is on your ENTIRE bandwidth and is percentage based, so someone downloading from my system at 2-3k/second would completely kill my downloads. Eventually we managed to get them to back off a little bit on the cap, but I still get better gaming out of my old external modem. The worst part is, they didn't have a cap on the connection at all for awhile, and I liked being a LPB.

    Down that path lies madness. On the other hand, the road to hell is paved with melting snowballs.
  • I live in Omaha, NE, and have a cable modem. I also have a power line. I wrote a program that graphs how often my cable modem link is down (by pinging the gateway, and a few next hop sites on the @home network to see if i can even get out of the city) Yah know what? In the 6 months I've been doing it, my g3 running linux has never been rebooted, meaning the power hasn't even flickered. But my app says that I've had over 20 hours without internet access. This is @home, but it's the same service as @work but capped. So much for power being less reliable than cable. I'm sure some DSL users have had more problems than me, after all the horror stories I've heard of people going weeks without access.
  • Well yeah, population/sq meter is small in any country, even Japan. However sweden has about twice the population of my home State (Minnesota), and about the same area. (Not very close, but close enough to get an idea of how things are) So it will be easier to wire your country then my state. There are many states in the US that can claim about the same amount of land as Sweden, but 1/10th the population.

  • Well, I guess it depends on what you think is better. 5 or 6 people downloading 120 MB at one time over a backbone link or 500 or 5000. Now, if I was one of the 5 downloading I'd say it's a great idea!
  • 15k/sec? Holy shit. You ever just consider getting a 56k/s modem for uploads? How the heck do you get 1.5Mb/s down with only 15kb/sec up? The TCP acknowledgements alone would flood your uplink channel.
  • 100Mbps (!) consumer internet service being offered in Japan. Cost: US $40.00/month. Hmmm. I pay more than that for 384K DSL.

    I pay more than that for 56k dialup modem.

    Stop whinging.

  • Seriously, though, who the hell is charging more than $40/month for 56k? I have a feeling you're getting ripped off.

    $27.50 for the dialup and $15 for the lease on the second phone line. That's $42.50 per month to get a 56k dialup. And that is the best price I've found in Canberra, Australia. It's unlimited time and bandwidth but that's small consolation.

    Admittedly it's $42.50AUD which is more like a mere $20USD, but it's still terrible value if you compare it to USA options. So you lot should stop whinging about your 384kb DSL deals. I'd kill for that! ADSL is only available in select regions of Australia and my suburb is not getting ADSL until 2003.

    BTW: I don't disagree with you that it's a rip off, but you don't get any better in Australia.

  • Dude, if you're advertising your homepage, at least you should make sure it has something besides just the default Apache "no web page configured" screen.

    No, I like the default screen.

  • Anyone who pays that much for dialup is a fool, when you can get unmetered cable (abliet 400kbit/sec) can get it for a mere AUS$75 p/m.

    You're an ass. There is no cable in Gunghalin, Canberra until 2003. And the $75/month ADSL from Telstra *is* limited. They just claim that is an unlimited ADSL but they "warn" you for exceeding arbitrary limits (the yellow/red card system).

    $42.50/month 56k modem is the best option I've got available. Just because you live in Melbourne or Sydney, where ADSL is common, doesn't mean the rest of the country is as lucky as you.

  • Last week it was reported on local TV (AT5) that only a few kilometers from here, a new appartment complex is being built with glass fiber to every front door. Yummy.
  • In this case, you do it by remembering that 95% of the population of Canada lives in a strip along the border of the US about 160 km wide. Simply dividing n jillion square klicks of wheat fields, tundra, snow field, etc. by a population that doesn't live there is a very distressing and unhelpful way to look at the problem. Cheer up! :)
  • I think Freenet & Mojo Nation would adapt to this environment well. Audiogalaxy Satellite would probably make use of the relatively local machines.

    If the ISP started up a Squid server (or cluster) to cache requests, then the backbone wouldn't be hit as hard either. When it notices a request in its cache, then it could hit the speed of the 100M network, easily. This is very cool.

  • Some places are just too sparsely populated to wire up for anything. It's a matter of (ugh) cost-effectiveness. Rural areas of New Brunswick, Canada area good example. 56k is literally the only option. At least it's pretty cheap: CAN$24.95 for unlimited 56k access with NBTel.
  • in the past, what has stopped Power Line Carrier (PLC) internet access is the transformer in the neighborhood. It seems that the transformer is pretty good at blocking PLC from traversing from the home into the power system (this is what also keeps your X10 home automation stuff from controlling your neighbors house :)

    PLC would be good for us (we are a municipal electric utility). We have already installed a coax and fiber network, but PLC would let us get to the residential customers that are just to expensive to reach otherwise.
  • I wish that my users were more like you. They blame us for slow connections to the internet. Well, I have 2 DS3 to seperate tier-1 providers, our upstream and downstream channels are under-utilized, and they still complain that their connections are slow.

  • I wonder if they offer any kind of SLA for this? Imagine the ammount of bandwidth that a couple of users could consume downloading divx movies, or something like that. I imagine that this service won't be around for too long. They'll just run out of money.
  • 100Mbit to the home, 10Mbit to the switch, 1.5Mb to the 'net. Still sounds good though, eh?
  • You know, thinking about it a little more, if I was offering such a service (heh), I would force all traffic through a transparent caching proxy with a really really really big disk. That cuts your bandwidth some. Then, just have a small pipe going out relatively. Visit a commonly visited site, you have local data and it comes faster than a 15-year old getting his first blowjob. Get Akamai to put local servers in place, like my employer/school did.
  • You didn't note the .au at the end of his email address? Now, I'm not an Aussie. I'd like to be, but the .au on mine is spam protection. That's what prices are like for such services. Metered service, bandwidth caps that I could cook through in 15 minutes on high-speed access like cable, etc. I'd be paying more than US$40 for 56K due to the metering too...
  • I've found that most places limit the outgoing per connection. I can go to a site and get 30k/s...and the second file I'm getting can be gotten at the same time at 30k/ its not that they can't give it to you fast, they just don't.

    Fastest speed I've gotten over cable was 1.2M/s and it took about 5 seconds to grab 5M file. Loved it. But I doubt I'll have fiber running to my house any time soon. sigh.
  • You must not be in the @home area. My upstream is limited to 15k/s...while this rarely is a problem since I don't run a ftp site on my box. On those occasions I want to send something big to a friend, then it bites. I'm hoping that when I move the new cable company won't have the same limitations on it.
  • 15k/s upstream...I have seen up to 1.2M/s downloading. So it only is painfull when sending something big to a friend.
  • By that logic, you could argue that a place as sparsely populated as Antarctica would almost *never* get a nice internet connection.

    But, you can't generalize the average population per square mile.

    It just so happens that probably every single person in Antarctica has an internet connection. It also happens that the vast majority of Canadians live within 100 miles of the U.S. border. This makes things relatively *easier* for any type of internet deployment in Canada.
  • Up in Ashland, OR [] they are doing the " project. They are running a gigabit network, with ethernet jacks into businesses. I'm not sure of the details, as I don't know anyone personally who has this so I can't say how it works in the real world. []

    With that much bandwidth, Ashland is definitely worth moving to. Beautiful town too, with a shakespearean festival every year and some great white water rafting on the rogue -- also Mt. Ashland to ski/snowboard on.

  • if only I clicked the preview button...
  • Here in Milan, Italy, we're getting something similar. It's only 10 Mbps actually, and it costs about 50 Euro/month, and it includes phone (VoIP, including free calls to other subscribers and a few hours of "bonus" calls/month) and Pay Per View (available, but not yet used).
    They're laying the cables down near my place right now. I can't wait...
  • Contrary to in the US most power lines in Europe are below ground, you'll hardly ever see overhead lines except long distance high voltage lines. By consequence power outages are quite rare in countries like Germany
  • Great having 100Mbps to the home... but what's the point if japan's bandwidth to the rest of the world is less than 100Mbps anyway?!?!? I s'pose if you wanted to browse nothing but japanese kiddie-pr0n all day...
  • Anyone have some info as to wether or not that is possible here in Canada / the US? What would prevent the Hydro companies from becoming ISPs?

  • It works in europe well because they run a hundred houses off of one transformer.

    In the United States there is usually one transformer on every street block (4-7 houses).

    As I understand it the main objection to running signals over power lines is the noise on such lines caused by the hardware (TVs, radio'sm lightswitches, dimmers) connected to it.. Having less houses per transformer (or, segment) would mean less interference on that segment!

    I fail to see the difference between having a transformer every 4-7 houses or a nice linux box every 4-7 computers -- a linux box NATting my LAN, hooked up to my cable modem. The thing that makes it work is the fact that all the UTP and coaxial cable is shielded from interference, while AC lines aren't..

  • It's been announced in Germany over and over again, for years now, by different companies. It never worked out. So, I'll remain sceptical until I see it in widespread use.

    If you understand German, read the related Heise newsticker announcement [].
  • $20/mo ISP + $25/mo second phone line = $45/mo 56K connection
  • This is one thing that pisses me off about the "conservative" politico's and those that claim to identify with them...

    The ONLY "last mile" solution EVER built (in the U.S. anyway) was 100% publicly/government financed because no other private or public institution had the balls to do it.

    This remains true to this day. Qwest, AT&T, SBC, Verizon, et al., all have no balls. They only exist to continue suckling at their monopoly's teat under the protection of the FCC. Now that the GOP controls the FCC, FTC and DOJ, their monopolies are even safer.

    AT&T (any others?) may be let off a little on this as they're apparently trying to bridge the gap a little with their cable and wireless properties, but it's still a hodgepodge, far-from-100%-coverage situation.

    Perhaps one day the brain-dead conservatism in the U.S today will pass and we can once again persue enlightened, progressive public policy. The private sector is NOT the answer to every question.

    (FWIW, I am more conservative than liberal, but wouldn't associate with any "conservative" U.S. politician on my worst day. The New Democrats are brain-dead in the same respects, BTW.)

  • I was at the MIT Enterprise Forum last week and listened to the chief analyst from Deutshe (sp) Bank discuss the Optical Networking market. The US has WAY too much capacity right now due to a lack access from customers. Optical Networking companies, after investing huge sums in laying a backbone, now know they still have more investing to do. This home service is an example of the new "first mile" thinking. As I type this, I'm eye-shot for the new fiber bundle AT&T just strung in front of my house :^)
  • "640 kilobytes ought to be enough for anybody."

    You didn't include it, but everyone knows that this is attributed to Bill Gates. Wrong! If someone actually DID say it (big if!) it was the IBM engineer that put video memory at 0xA0000. Anyway, the 8088/8086 only saw 1024 kilobytes, and they did need some of that space for memory mapping I/O and BIOS.

    If they had figured out a way for the entire 1 MB to be used by user programs (like you could with the Commodore 64 with it's 64 KB) would people now be attributing "1 megabyte ought to be enough for anybody." to Bill Gates?

    The bare-bones IBM PC only came with 64 KB. No other mass marketed computer at that time came with more than that. It wasn't until many years later that new computers came with all their conventional memory space actually filled with RAM, well into the 80386 run.
  • by __aanonl8035 ( 54911 ) on Saturday March 24, 2001 @09:27AM (#342763)
    Back when I worked at a power company that also ran an ISP over dial up lines, we investigated Internet over powerlines.

    It works in europe well because they run a hundred houses off of one transformer.

    In the United States there is usually one transformer on every street block (4-7 houses).

    The transmission of data gets mangled at the Transformer and so the costs go up in equipment.
  • For the entry level price of 49 marks ($22.36) per month, users will be able to download 250 megabytes of data -- equivalent to about 2,500 e-mails -- at speeds up to 30 times faster than an ISDN connection, RWE said.
    Uerm... 250 megs a month? Are you kidding me? This may be how they keep the initial price so low: the cost is probably like 2 marks per extra 10 megs of data sent. Yuck.

  • You can't get DSL? Woah.. I'm in south canberra, which must be the furthest from silicon valley that you could possibly be, and we can get Telstra ADSL.. however, it's expensive as all hell, and their 'unlimited' package is capped to some average transfer rate every day, so you have capped daily transfers, and you don't know what the cap is, but if you exceed it too many times, you break the AUP and you lose your connection.. no thanks
  • A friend of mine here in Sweden is getting 100 MBit fiber through his district heating company. He'll have to pay about 1600$ (16000 SEK) to have it installed and then about 40$/month.
  • Here in Grant County, WA, USA, the Public Utility District has just completed a pilot program to install fiber in homes anywhere in the county. The rollout will be this summer. Once they connect us, we just have to find an ISP to support it. It's a really exciting time to live here in central Washington. There's some more information, though slightly outdated located at
  • by Speare ( 84249 ) on Saturday March 24, 2001 @11:31AM (#342768) Homepage Journal

    ... pretty soon you're talking real space. --paraphrased

    Remember the unit discrepancy; hard drive "gigs" are measured in "billion bytes" formatted capacity, not the usual powers-of-two "gigs" that we talk about in memory or bus speeds. Lastly, the effective "baud" vs the actual data that gets through. Hard to do the math after so many definitions of "bits."

    If you took '10 gigs' and '8 gigs' as the numbers on the outside of the hard drive packaging, you have 18 BB (billion bytes), or 144 Bb (billion bits) of actual stuff you could serve. (144 Gb is actually 144*1024^3, or 154,618,822,656 bits.)

    The effective baud is harder; it depends on the protocols and the transport. RS232 has 'stop bits' and such; this makes it about 10 bits of time per effective byte transferred. Ethernet has less per byte, but big packets get wrapped in smaller datagrams with sequencing data. Tunneling takes more data wrapping, and so on.

  • Dude, if you're advertising your homepage, at least you should make sure it has something besides just the default Apache "no web page configured" screen.
  • Ok, I think this would be somewhat easy to do in the US.
    Anywhere you can have a 2way cable modem it means there is "Fiber to the Curb", perhaps not literally the curb, but it is close to your home. Now we know that DSL limits (now) are 7mbps down, 1mbps up. But did you know that cable theoretical limits are 50Gbps, full duplex?
    Now why dont they have that kind of access? Noone needs it.. Really. Noone needs a 100mbps home connection. Especially with what the other /. users have said, the limitations of the internet itself. Plus, to attempt to bring every home user to a true 100mbps connection would require vast resources and investments in backbone technology.
    I'm more then happy with my 2mb DSL, and in fact doubt I truly even need it anyway, so even if I was offered a 100mbps solution I doubt I'd take it.

  • We have a very limited amount of choices in terms of broadband providers. For xDSL only two telcos offer it for businesses. Among the two only one of them so far offers it to residentials. For cable there are only three players in the whole country. All of these are only available within the capital, Metro Manila.

    One tech insider in my country even speculated that the whole Philippines relied upon 100-200Mbps of Internet backbone to connect overseas.

    Residential ADSL connections use dynamic IPs. 128kbps ADSL connection costs around PhP2,000 (US$40) while a 256kbps ADSL connection costs PhP2,500 (US$50). Business 512kbps connections with static IPs costs a whopping PhP18,000 (US$360)

    Almost all the cable connections here costs PhP2,000-PhP2750 (US$40-55) with speed caps between 128kbps-512kbps. But sometimes they barely crawl by 5KB/s.

    As you can see it's pretty expensive to gain access to the Internet here and with the Philippine Peso exchange rate with the US Dollar so bad (PhP50 = US$1) it could lead to a lot of bizarre things happening.

    If you want more details concerning the Internet bandwidth issues within the Philippines you can check out the Talk about Bandwidth/Broadband/ISP speed here [] forum thread.

    FYI the Philippines will be celebrating the 7th Birthday of the Internet this March 29th.

  • Did anyone actually read the article about access via power lines in germany? Did you see the prices??

    "For the entry level price of 49 marks ($22.36) per month, users will be able to download 250 megabytes of data"

    Naturally, it gets cheaper for more bandwidth, but it's still damn expensive:

    "RWE's PowerNet price rises to 69 marks for a billion bytes of data. A tariff of 249 marks would offer small businesses 10 billion bytes"

    So that's roughly $33 for 1 gig/month and $110 for 10gigs. Not at all cheap.

  • I can't find an article about it but NY's WWWAC List has discussed 100Mbps connections in Manhattan. At least one company is offereing to wire up buildings with 100Mbps connections if enough people in the building sign up. It isn't big yet, just a few buildings I think, but it does exist.
  • You have no idea.
  • In that case they'd be the first tech company to have such intelligence in recent memory.
  • No one needs a 100mbps home connection.

    Ahh it is talk like that that reminds me of the days of IBM XT PCs. When the 20 mhz AT came out many said that no one needs that much processing power on a desk. The fact is that once the capability is there, someone will find a use for it. Holographic HDTV, sharing DVD movies or something. Wait 3 or 4 minutes for a 121 meg file? No damn it I want it right now.

  • First of all, the provider's home page (Japanese only) is []. Specifics for the broadband network are at [].

    Usen has been quietly laying out fiber throughout Japan for several years. Up until now, they've mostly served "cable radio" to houses and stores. I think that system is capable of 440 channels of audio. Their founder (who died a few years ago) got into a little trouble for hijacking utility poles for his cables, but the son who took over has straightened out that mess. Many of us have been waiting for this, because they are really the only nationwide competitor (in terms of infrastructure) to NTT. The regional power companies could conceivably build a comparable network, but Usen has a huge head start.

    I first saw this in the local newspaper about a month ago; but figured it wouldn't be much use to post to slashdot without a translation. When it first came out, the "major cities" were supposed to be active by 10/2001. That was quickly changed to "all of Tokyo" by then, and the major cities by 4/2002, with the rest of Japan to be connected (100%) by 4/2003. The JapanToday article is probably a little bit mixed up when it quotes 4/2003 for the major cities.

    In essence, the hard work has already been done. I think they could throw a few switches and be providing access to over 90% of the country right now; but they probably want to work out the bugs first.

  • Lessee... (4900Y + 900Y)/123 YenPer$ (simple conversion from oanda [] means...

    ~$47 per month!!!!!

    Holy bajeezus... I'm paying more than that for my Cable modem, and it's got 1/100th the max bandwidth!

    And that's not even considering the cost of living in some japanese cities [].

    But does it actually guarantee 100Mbps past the first gateway? How about upstream?

  • Yes, that's basically the issue. Typically in these systems you have a router at the pole transformer, coupled to the low-tension side of the transformer. The backbone is usually fiber in power-line based systems, because it provides electrical isolation and because fibre can be safely run at the power-line level on phone poles instead of the telco-cable level lower down.

    It's one of those things that's quite feasible if everybody signs up, but if one house in 20 signs up, you have to put in way too much infrastructure per house.

  • Its not just density, if that was true, then New York City would have fiber to indivuiduals. (It wouldn't be that hard I don't think, apartments would have to be wired like dorm rooms are now). Running fiber has alot of problems associated with it, and running to the home is very expensive, right now, it will take alot of time to recoupe the costs associated with it.
  • by anotherone ( 132088 ) on Saturday March 24, 2001 @09:44AM (#342781)
    Anyone else find it kind of ironic that the site's been slashdotted?

  • I'm not sure who my cale provider is anymore. I signed up under Mediaone Road Runner. Then it was taken over. And I think it's now AT&T digital, or something like that. And, for some strange reason I keep thinking there is and AOL connection to my cable company somehow. Not sure though.

    At least I haven't been screwed. And I can honestly say I have never had any beefs with my cable provider.

    15k/s... that must be rough.

  • umm... how do I explain this... IT WAS JOKE!

    Was I suppose to be impressed?

    Don't be offended, but I just HATE nitpickers.

  • 39.95 a month. i've been able to squeeze 1.550 Mbps download and 350 Kbps upload out of it. Add file compression and whoa!!! I actually like the staggered upload and download values. That means I can be serving 350 Kbps in files and leeching with the reaming bandwidth. Gotta love it. Besides, the phone company didn't seem to want my business with DSL. So I said screw them.

  • by yzquxnet ( 133355 ) on Saturday March 24, 2001 @09:52AM (#342785) Homepage
    let's see...
    8 gigs here...
    10 gigs there...
    at 100 Mbps...
    that's, 18 gigs...
    or 144 gigabits...
    144 gigabits divided by 100 megabits per second...
    24 minutes...
    I think I need some bigger drives!

  • Japan has a much more tightly inhabited land mass, with more appropriate infrastructure, and virtually no distance to wire. Less overhead almost always equals lower costs to the consumer. So, in other words, I am buying an island and getting fiber EVERYTHING.

  • Ugh, a single gigabyte of data costs THAT Much?

    I use over a gig of bandwidth A DAY. I could NEVER live with a gig a month, heh. Sheesh.

    emails at 100kB each, heh, there is a joke. Only if you had an insanly large amount of HTML formating in them, or ALOT of Jpeg images (or one Gif, heh)

    I guess I'll stick with my 2MBp/s connection at $40 a month. Yes, that is MegaBytes per second. Actualy it is around 2.2MBp/s, but. . . . after a certiain level, who's counting anyways:)

    (Yes, I'm lucky, my local @Home provider kicks ass, unlike some poor smucks @Home providers, the only problem is this 15KBp/s upload cap)
  • Heh, wrong. It was 2MegaBytes, nice little bandwidth progie said so:)

    How you ask? Well, I kinda cheated when I was mesuring the speed you see. Text is highly compressable, even if it is a legitimate docuement (which, by the way, it was). Compression on text allowed for me to easily get 2MegaBytes per second. Actualy, it was 2.2MegaBytes, but who is counting after that point, eh? :)

    It IS 15KBp/s, verified numerious times with numerious local people. Actualy, that is 120Kbit so I am doing a fair bit better then a single channel ISDN line.
  • What's this a monopoly talking vapour to scare off potential competitors? Surely not?
  • Same here. @home is a bitch.
  • How big of a backbone does Usen have to carry all this bandwidth their users are getting to the outside world? If you have 100mbits of bandwidth and at the switch it all gets stopped dead that's not very fast...
  • I would kill to have a fiber conection at my house. I have a cable connection, but it suffers when usage is high in my neighborhood. So much so that it isn't even worth using it. I do recall seeing the "net over powerlines" story on the evening news. That was probably over a year or two ago. Sounds like vaporware to me. Even if it was available people in California would still be sucking wind!
  • The Hydro Companies across Ontario are offering net connectivity. They are running there service for the most part over fiber. There rates are pretty decent for businesses as well, but sadly out of reach for the home user.
  • per 50 milliseconds, that would be enough for now :-)

    Maybe reformulate that old Gates quote into something like 640 kbps? Well, I guess I have a 4.5 gigabyte connection, just ignore the remark that it's per one hour.. not that I'm picky about units or anything ;-)


  • California's now offering internet service over powerlines, too.

    Unfortunately, it's only about 16 bits per month.

    Off... Off... Back on... Off. Back on again. Off... Off... Back on again...
  • Umm, no, sorry, not really. I've lived in Japan now for over seven years, and this sort of thing is common. Companies and the government will anounce brilliant new services they simply have no intention of ever offering. I mean the plan isn't even on paper. Remember, you're dealing with a culture where appearance is everything. Following through... well, that's not really so important a concept here. (Keep your flames. My wife is Japanese. I speak Japanese. I've lived here for a huge chunk of my life.) Everyone should just remember to treat press releases with skepticism. This of course applies to companies in any country. jeko
  • Why do the poor Japanese have to pay in American dollars?
  • by dlittled ( 187714 ) on Saturday March 24, 2001 @09:27AM (#342798) Homepage
    Usen offers 100Mbps connection for consumers
    Chieko Tashiro

    Friday, March 23, 2001 at 18:00 JST
    TOKYO -- Usen corporation, a Tokyo based cable radio company, started the world's fastest Internet connection service from March 1. At a top speed of 100Mbps Usen is targeting the average consumer via its fiber-optic cables.

    Atsushi Fujimoto, broadband business planning director of Usen, demonstrated the 100Mbps connection for Japan Today and explained, "At 100Mbps connection, when you are downloading a game file that is 121MB it takes only 20-30 seconds instead of waiting the 10-12 hours it takes on the 64Kbps ISDN connection common to many Japanese households.

    The monthly service charge is Y4,900 a month, plus another Y900 per month for Usen's special modem. Installing charges run to Y30,000.

    It may sound irresistible, but not all agree.

    "It is wrong to take a look at a 100M bps connection and consider it the best service," says Takashi Hosoya of Jupiter Communications, a market research company.

    The Internet needs to be considered in total, says Hosoya -- the backbone, upstream, and downstream conditions. Even if downstream is 100M bps the backbone may not good enough, slowing everything down.

    He also points that Usen's broadband service may be aimed only at pushing Usen's cost contents.

    To install the service, Usen will add a fibre optic line alongside your phone line. That line will then be connected to Usen's fiber optic utility pole which then hooks through to the Usen's Shibuya office, and the Internet.

    Users can then access Usen's portal site where you can download games and Karaoke songs. Usen is working to provide more content for users.

    Currently, Usen services the Shibuya and Setagaya areas of Tokyo. In April, Tokyo's Suginami, Meguro, Ota areas will be added.

    Then, in October, Tokyo's 23 wards will be able to access the service. From April 2003, Usen will provide the service to all major cities in Japan.

    Andrew Shuttleworth, president of the Tokyo PC Users Group said, "Y4,900 is a very low monthly charge. Users will appreciate the service."

    Daiwa Institute of Research's analyst Shinji Moriyuki thinks the key for Usen is to spray the service area wide as soon as possible. He says, "Usen may serve many users' needs. If users have faster connections, there are many more things they can do and create online. If anyone, any one company wants a high speed connection with inexpensive fees, Usen's service will help."

    Another thing that is also good about this service is the service subscribers can connect to a high speed Internet 24x7.

    Many Japanese Internet users connect to the Internet and download emails and then disconnect. Well trained as they are, by years of NTT charging 10 yen for every three minutes spent on line.

    Shuttleworth says, "At the moment many Japanese users connect to download their mail and then disconnect as soon as possible, even if they have a flat rate connection like Flets ISDN. As these services spread the mindset will change so that people think of the Internet as an 'always on' service."

    Daiwa's Moriyuki thinks the Usen service will increase competition. "The service will motivate the industry to grow. However, it all depends on the user's need for the Internet."

    Gartner Group's broadband analyst, Yuko Adachi, thinks any change to Japan's Internet scene will take at least a year. "Until Usen can provide the service nationwide there won't be much difference. Plus, the service is consumer targeted, and many applications for consumer don't need speeds of 100Mbps."

    In fact, NTT East's PR department said, "We are currently providing a 10Mbps test service, and hopefully this spring we will also provide a 100Mbps service." However, the date for the service's start has not been announced.

    Shuttleworth also agrees there will be more competition. "Of course NTT and other companies will work to provide the same kind of service."

    For personal users, Moriyuki says, "Some might not know what to do with 100Mbps, many only need 10Mbps."

    Shuttleworth's opinion differs. "In Japan, many advanced device are being developed, such as TVs which can connect to the Internet and PCs with TV tuners. With those, users will be downloading videos and then when they realise they need a faster connection, they will look for it. Also, once they realise there are faster connections, users will soon start finding out the new things they can do through the 'net."

    Usen is aiming for 15,000 subscribers in the first year. By August 2003, they hope to have 1 million subscribers and 2 million subscribers by August 2005.

    Asked how customers have responded to the first two weeks of service Usen's Fujimoto says, "Users are impressed with the speed and the vivid graphics that make using the Internet almost like watching TV."
  • Anybody know what the first utility is to go out in bad weather? It's power. And if you've got a business website that needs to stay up, then this is the last thing you need!

    Also, I believe fiber connections like this are being proposed in NYC...

    I can't be karma whoring - I've already hit 50!

  • How do you protect sensitive communtications equipment from surges if it is RIGHT ON THE POWER LINE? I mean, you can't condition the power can you? You'd lose the data...

    I can't be karma whoring - I've already hit 50!
  • I never said that cable was good for business - it's not viable either. DSL can be viable, and in some areas it is. As for power not flickering for 6 months - you're lucky compared to me. Power drops often near San Antonio, and during major storms in Maine during the winter (I don't care what you say - lines aren't meant to hold 3 inches of ice)

    I can't be karma whoring - I've already hit 50!
  • by ckedge ( 192996 ) on Saturday March 24, 2001 @07:45PM (#342802) Journal

    > But, here in Canada? We've got a population density of 3.3 people per frigging kilometre! How do you affordably link the 3.3 people in each of those square kilometres with fibre, especially given that many of them are separated by waterways?

    Most of us are concentrated along the US border, and just like any other western industrial country the vast majority of us live in big metropolitan areas (which already has the cheapest 1Mbit DSL in the world, $40 CDN). Even in Saskatchewan, half of everyone is in the two main cities.

    >I don't see how those in Canada's north will soon join the digital revolution.

    Same way we got electricity and telephones to the farms.

    Here's a question: I know that the DSL used in Canada has a range of 5km from the telco, that could cover a lot of farms right there. (Of course first you need a bit of bandwidth going to the small towns.) Has anyone heard anything about the actual technical or economic issues involved with trying DSL to farms? (Pretend there aren't any party lines still in use..)

  • Actually - power failures are much more common in the US than in Germany. The reason is the higher population density, so you also have a more finely meshed power network.

    One of the reasons this might well take of in Germany is also mentioned in the article: Deutsche Telecom sells a lot of DSL lines, but it installs less than 50% of them. :)

  • If people are downloading games (120MB) in 20-30 seconds, isn't that going to help the backbone a bit?

    Only if the backbone is big enough, and the server at the other end has enough capacity, and your access router has enough processing capacity.. Otherwise the increased demand on the backbone will reduce service quality for everyone else.

    Remember that you're asking for a certain number of bits, not bits per second, if you're downloading something. If the backbone, not your connection, is the bottleneck, you could easily overwhelm the router used to connect you to it - unless traffic shaping is used to limit your bandwidth, in which case you won't get your full 100Mbps.

  • I dont'know about US/Canada - here in Switzerland though there's a similar project running in a mainly industrial area though. Prices are a bit higher too - starting around 200$ a month in the first year and going to 800$ from the second year on for 100Mbps. Check []
  • Sorry for the missing link
  • About prices: Here in Switzerland it's actually cheaper to build in less densly populated areas. One meter of building (without fibre, patching, installations, inhouse cabling and so on) costs up to 300$ per meter in a city as compared to 20 to 50$ out in the green. And it never gets cheaper then digging in flowers! (yes, the ones my mother has in her garden). The reason is that even if you are digging through a field owned by some farmer you have to pay compensation for the loss of income he experiences. Whereas with flowers you just plant new ones...
  • Fibre to your home is one thing - the equipment to handle all the traffic coming through is the other. The cheapest equipment that is able to handle singlemode fibre and the resulting traffic cost you at least 10000$!!
  • As many /.'ers have already pointed out, most sites don't have nearly the bandwidth to handle 100mbit xfer. Where this is good is that it suddenly makes p2p protocols *faster* than going to centralised sites.

    This means the downward view-this-content trend on the internet since the growth of the web should be halted.

    Either that, or lots of MP3 trading will be going on. Actually, probably that one.

  • I have some reservations about this. As mentioned in the article, what about the backbone. Who cares if everyone has a 100mps connection if the backbone is always congested? But, if what this company claims it will do is true and effective, that is amazing. So of course, now I'm wondering why in the United States something like this wouldn't be possible.

    Is the US too big for something like this to be cost effective. Japan is very condensed, you can get a lot of costumers in a very small area. The US much more spread out.

    Are the large companies too intimidating for a small, progressive company with a vision to try something like this? And what about the large companies, if something like this is economically feasible, why aren't they all over this? Maybe, they have too much money invested in DSL/cable at the moment to jump ship. Just some thoughts
  • So now we know where the next explosion in warez sites will be. :-)
    Like when Germany's internet went from ultra-bad to good.
  • Nah, it's just some Japanese dudes trading karaoke over their 100 Mbps lines... It'll be fine in minutes....

  • by Hobobo ( 231526 ) on Saturday March 24, 2001 @09:49AM (#342821)
    "640 kilobytes ought to be enough for anybody."
  • by DaSyonic ( 238637 ) <DaSyonic AT yahoo DOT com> on Saturday March 24, 2001 @09:20AM (#342822) Homepage
    This is much easier to do in someplace like japan where there isnt as much space in a city. To run fibre to your home in Japan isnt much fibre at all. To do this someplace like Houston would require running miles upon miles of fibre, raising the price considerably. Being dense does have its advantages.
  • In he article they point out that the backbone may not be enough to support this kinda speed.

    BUT! I have a question! If people are downloading games (120MB) in 20-30 seconds, isn't that going to help the backbone a bit?

    See when people are downloading the same game from a dial-up connection doesn't that actually kinda, in a way, f' up the backbone for the rest of us?

    I know it's way more complicated than that - because of different routes and the such.

    What I'd like to see now is a distributed computing program that would use this fast connection and help move data around on the net. I would use my unused cycles and unused time to help my neighbors get games and all that.

    Like- uh - I'm on this Road Runner and I wouldn't mind hosting like a distro while I sleep. On this cable system it would be "hella" fast cause we are on the same LAN.
  • by screwballicus ( 313964 ) on Saturday March 24, 2001 @12:23PM (#342846)
    If rural America has a difficult task ahead of it in the bid to wire its people, Canada is going to have a nightmare of a time.

    Japan, our original example has a population density of approximately 335 people/sq km.

    The United States has a bit of a harder time, with a population density of approximately of approximately 28 people/sq km.

    But, here in Canada? We've got a population density of 3.3 people per frigging kilometre! How do you affordably link the 3.3 people in each of those square kilometres with fibre, especially given that many of them are separated by waterways?

    Unless satellite access makes great strides, I don't see how those in Canada's north will soon join the digital revolution.

    (these statistics were taken from

  • Not only that, but I would imagine there are very few sites that could even provide 100 mbps of upstream feed to fill out that fat pipe. I've found that even with my 1.5 mbps cable connection, the slowest point in the connection is more often than not the host I am trying to connect to. The Internet's backbone is simply not designed for most users to have a 100mbps pipeline, and cannot provide sufficient bandwidth to support such a connection. It would be frivolous to attempt such a thing.
  • by BillyGoatThree ( 324006 ) on Saturday March 24, 2001 @09:55AM (#342853)
    They can offer high speed for low cost because the maximum cable length is going to be what, 3 miles?
  • by w2gy ( 324957 ) on Saturday March 24, 2001 @09:57AM (#342855)
    Data communications over power lines is nothing new. In the UK Norweb [] were trialling this back in about '98. A lot of urban legends were started back then about being able to snarf people's traffic from hanging around street lighting. It looked very promising at the time, and a lot of people got very excited.

    Norweb got into bed with Nortel, seeked and received EU approval to trial the system and they started offering access to schools around Manchester as well as some homes. It was called DPL (Direct Power Line) and provided 1 megabit of data symmetrically. The project was cancelled after "unsatisfactory results" but I can find no reference on-line as what the precise nature was. I seem to recall seeing an article in New Scientist that suggested the amount of noise on the power lines caused huge problems when trying to get the signal across distances any greater than one side of a lab to another. In addition, back in 1999 BT had announced ADSL and was then talking about speeds of 10Mb/sec (which haven't materialised) and many suspected that was a major cause of the project being scrapped.
  • by deuxdrop ( 409942 ) on Saturday March 24, 2001 @10:04AM (#342861)
    1) it will not happen in the us for a long long long LONG time. This is part of the "last mile" problem that telcos isps, pretty much everyone and their dog has been wondering about for the last umm ever. there was a compnay in houston that was planning on pushing fiber to the door... but not serving as an ISP - only the physical connect to the telco. 2) to build an infastructure like that is very expensive and time consuming, not to mention that when you drive dowtown - that orange paint on the road with those little arrows means that fiber is going in, and you won't be able to drive anywhere anymore. 3) ISP powerline stuff is a great idea, the network is pretty much built, but running fiber from pole to pole is not a good idea, that's why a vast majority of it is burried in the ground. with the way the economy is now, the fact that telcos, IXC's etc... are now pretty much being punished by the same people that financed them a little while back - no one is going to build anything super great like this... not for a long long time. there are other issues (legal) surrounding last mile as well.... from a business stance on USEN, they should have rolled out with a 10mbs and a 100mbs service, offering the allusion of choice to the customer, and they still could have charged the US$40 for 10mbs.

Trap full -- please empty.