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The NYT Compares Broadband Upgrade Costs in US, Japan

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the and-it-ain't-pretty dept.

Networking 257

zxjio writes with this excerpt from a New York Times article about just how much networking infrastructure costs vary between the US and Japan: "Pretty much the fastest consumer broadband in the world is the 160-megabit-per-second service offered by J:Com, the largest cable company in Japan. Here's how much the company had to invest to upgrade its network to provide that speed: $20 per home passed. ... Verizon is spending an average of $817 per home passed to wire neighborhoods for its FiOS fiber optic network and another $716 for equipment and labor in each home that subscribes, according to Sanford C. Bernstein & Company. ... The experience in Japan suggests that the major cable systems in the United States might be able to increase the speed of their broadband service by five to 10 times right away. They might not need to charge much more for it than they do now and they would still make as much money."

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Crazy (5, Interesting)

Caustic Soda (1286402) | more than 5 years ago | (#27464457)

That's just...ridiculous. No wonder they have such enormous speeds compared to the US. At least the States get a decent speed though. Here in Australia you tend to pay through the nose for anything more than 1Mb/s

N. Korea launches missile, Obama wags finger... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27464961)

disapprovingly. Perhaps the Great Teleprompter will write them a stern letter. That'll show 'em!

You pussies wanted to live in a world with a pussy-whipped America. Now you're about to find out what a dangerous place the world really is without Uncle Sam standing behind you.

Re:Crazy (4, Insightful)

homey of my owney (975234) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465033)

In Australia you suffer even more so than we do in the western US in that there's LOTS of space between A and B, making any infrastructure cost much higher than Japan where they measure that space in feet or inches.

Re:Crazy (5, Interesting)

AI0867 (868277) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465315)

Actually, they measure it in meters or centimeters, but your point still stands.
This makes me wonder why the speeds in the Netherlands don't go much over 20mbps, as we actually have a higher population density than Japan.

Re:Crazy (1)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465491)

Is the higher population density in the Netherlands on average over the whole country or higher in the cities?

One thing I'm curious about with articles like these, are they looking at the cities such as Tokyo or are they also including the countryside?

Re:Crazy (3, Funny)

sternmath (1055910) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465323)

no, they use metric in Japan. =)

Re:Crazy (1)

brusk (135896) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465571)

Actually space in residential housing is often measured in tatami mats (jou).

Damn, "ou" should be "o-macron" -- how do you use Unicode escape sequences on /.?

Re:Crazy (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27465121)

I live in Denmark and I have a 25 / 25 MB fiber connection with true unlimited bandwidth usage, no port restriction and static IP address for USD 45 per month. I paid 200 USD in a onetime fee for equipments and installation.

I have the option to upgrade to a 100 / 100 MB connection for 180 USD per month.

Sweden (our next door neighbor) is a lot cheaper.

If it cost Verizon 1500 USD per customer they are doing something very wrong.

Re:Crazy (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27465337)

From a profit taking standpoint, they're doing exactly what they should be doing.

People that whine about infrastructure costs and the geographic area of the states are full of shit, and are falling for the same stale telco pablum they've been feeding us since the 80's. They're greedy, they don't actually compete with anyone (is anyone stupid enough to believe these Baby Bells aren't colluding with one another?), and most importantly, most consumers don't demand a higher quality of service from them and are in fact perfectly content to get screwed up the ass for what is pitifully mediocre service.

The technology is out there. We Americans either developed or helped develop a lot of it, and everybody is using it besides us. The incentives for improvement simply aren't there, and as long as the (heavily subsidized, perpetually price-hiking) telcos don't have any reason to improve, they won't.

REGULATIONS (1)

p51d007 (656414) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465509)

I'll be you the Japanese don't have to put up with the mountains of red tape that you do in the USA either!

Thank you captain obvious (4, Insightful)

TrentTheThief (118302) | more than 5 years ago | (#27464461)

Of course verizon is going to milk its customers for every penny they can squeeze out. That what US telco's do.

Remember the bright star of ISDN? Yeah. Priced out of existence when simply selling in volume could have made them a mint.

Verizon! Bring me a 100Mbps line.

Look at the Automotive Industry (4, Insightful)

olddotter (638430) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465145)

Are we really surprised that LARGE American companies keep whining that its too hard or expensive to offer high quality service that their customers want?

We are into 40 years of Detroit automakers largely ignoring what their customers want. As a result they were already in serious trouble before the current financial mess. Mean while Toyota and Honda were giving people what they wanted. High quality reasonably priced cars in the sizes and shapes people wanted. When we come out the other end of this mess its likely only Ford will survive and hopefully they will be more responsive to market demands.

I just hope someone American or foreign, comes in and shakes up the ISP/Cable/Phone market here the way that the Japanese car companies did the automotive industry.

Re:Look at the Automotive Industry (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27465435)

"If in the course of operating a business profit taking becomes an end unto itself and all other pertinent matters of propriety and fairness are deemed irrelevant, it emerges that the only difference between the businessman and the burglar is their mode of operation - their only goal is to take money."

I add to that this: The interests of the profit takers are so deeply interwoven with those of the state that they are inseparable, with enterprise insulated from all potential harm by the slovenly government it nurses. Predictably, atrophy has resulted, and the depth of their interdependency is such that neither could possibly survive without the other. They persist now only by monopolizing the real and political capital of the nation, starving their competitors of the wealth and attention necessary for them to thrive.

With the telecommunications industry being no different, and with the infrastructure owners holding natural monopolies on the landlines and regulatory monopolies on the airwaves, there's no reason to assume that any real competition will take place here in the United States on any greater than the tiniest of scales.

Re:Thank you captain obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27465333)

ISDN failed for a lot of reasons and greed wasn't the biggest of them. If you're wondering what's wrong with ISDN, consider this: The standard VoIP signaling protocol is SIP. There exists an "actual" standard called H.323, which hasn't succeeded in the market. VoIP only took off when the much simpler (yet still quite complicated) HTTP based SIP came into existence. Guess what H.323 is. It's the ISDN protocol for VoIP (literally, not figuratively).

Re:Thank you captain obvious (1)

smpoole7 (1467717) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465627)

Shoot, I'd be happy to get a reliable, reasonably-priced 1.5Mhz up and down here in Birmingham, AL, for our company's servers. You can get decent download -- 6Mhz is common -- but ATT is extremely stingy with upload. The ratios are typically 256/1.5, 384/3 and 512/6 on their DSL lines. Other technologies are available (such as Metro Ethernet, bonded T1 or business broadband through the cable company) but they're quite expensive -- as much as $1,000 a month. As a result, co-location is expensive, too. Right next door in Atlanta, about 100 miles away, all of this is available at reasonable prices. That's the difference that competition makes.

totally. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27464477)

I think that the Italians are to blame for this. Goddamn these Italians.

High density = no digging (4, Insightful)

cheebie (459397) | more than 5 years ago | (#27464507)

And what is the population density in the areas where they are installing this $20/house fiber optic? Do they need to trench through miles of yards to get the lines there? And how much time and resources do they have to exert fighting the local dictators in each and every state/county before they can even begin? A straight "it costs $x vs $y" comparison without looking at all the factors is useless.

Re:High density = no digging (4, Informative)

Fusen (841730) | more than 5 years ago | (#27464531)

This has nothing to do with digging up the roads, the article talks about the US basing their high speed lines around FiOS installs, where as Japan are simply upgrading their cable lines to use DOCSIS 3 instead of 1.

In the UK atm, the main (pretty much only) cable provider is doing the same, they are upgrading half of their network to run off DOCSIS 3 and are offering 50Mbit, but leaving the rest of the network still on DOCSIS 1 that'll run speeds of less than 20Mbit.

All it takes is for the ISP to replace the hardware in their buildings and send the customer a new cable modem that supports version 3.

Literally, no spade is involved at all in the process.

Re:High density = no digging (4, Interesting)

Fusen (841730) | more than 5 years ago | (#27464559)

Oh I forgot to add, the 50Mbit being offered is purely down to this being their first push into using DOCSIS 3, the company has been quoted as saying once they make sure their network is working properly and more areas are supported, in a year or less they'll start offering 80Mbit and upwards to 120Mbit. All still based on the hardware the current 50Mbit subscribers use and all still not requiring any digging.

Re:High density = no digging (4, Informative)

legoburner (702695) | more than 5 years ago | (#27464805)

I currently have the 50mbit connection and finally, they have returned to their previous level of quality. I've managed to get 45Mbits out of it off peak, and consistently get 3.5MBytes/sec at peak times. I'm very happy right now, I have not even noticed the bandwidth constricting cap come in to play (which was a big problem on the 20Mbit/sec DOCSIS1)

Re:High density = no digging (1)

Cap'nPedro (987782) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465107)

I take it we're talking about Virgin Media here? Previous level of quality?

I didn't realise Vigin had ever been high quality; everything's been going downhill for me since Virgin bought out my NTL connection.

Re:High density = no digging (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27465521)

3.5 MBytes/sec is 28 Mbps, or a little over half what's advertised. I wouldn't call that particularly impressive, considering what Virgin charge for the service.

Of course, at that speed, it may be that you're being restricted by the server you're downloading from rather than the Virgin network.

Re:High density = no digging (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27464601)

I bought a modem off eBay for my mom a few years ago after I moved out. It seemed fairly recent, not as new as mine but it worked.

I got a call about 3-4 weeks ago from her. Cox Cable upgraded the modem for free to the latest model, I assume the old one didn't support DOCSIS 3. That was pretty nice of them.

Re:High density = no digging (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27464925)

I've got EuroDocsis 3.0 with 110 Mbits. A Helsinki based cable operator is selling the service for less than 60 euros.

Re:High density = no digging (4, Insightful)

mrobinso (456353) | more than 5 years ago | (#27464545)

The Japanese aren't worryied about monetizing every inch of their infrastructure. Here in Canada we're 2 - 3 years behind in technology because the telcos are busy harnessing broadband, wired and otherwise, so they can add to shareholder value, and they have the wonderful auspices of Canada's oldest whorehouse, the CTRC, to protect them while they do.

Government protected, oligopolized hyper-capitalism is the new telecommunications mantra here. The end is nowhere in sight.

Re:High density = no digging (3, Insightful)

jabithew (1340853) | more than 5 years ago | (#27464997)

You know, a state-protected oligopoly is hardly "hyper-capitalism".

Re:High density = no digging (4, Insightful)

good soldier svejk (571730) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465049)

You know, a state-protected oligopoly is hardly "hyper-capitalism".

Of course it is. Capitalism is an ownership model, not a market model.

Re:High density = no digging (4, Informative)

phoenix321 (734987) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465219)

A state-protected oligo-/monopoly is hardly capitalism, let alone Hyper-Capitalism.

Having The State and The Authorities protect a certain market sector from the activities of all but one trusted supplier is called Feudalism. Has been for centuries.

The King giveth and the King taketh away a limited monopoly to one corporation which in turn pays a large recurring premium for this right. The East-India corporation springs to mind, but the Italians and the French had similar models, back in the 17th century.

Quote Wikipedia on this: "Every man was the vassal, or servant, of his lord. The man swore fealty to his lord, and in return the lord promised to protect him and to see that he received justice."

Re:High density = no digging (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27465503)

And on that note kiddies, don't forget Loyalty Day on May first. Never too early to start practicing your oath recitations.

Re:High density = no digging (4, Informative)

good soldier svejk (571730) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465553)

First of all, that isn't the definition of feudalism. Feudalism is a system where a monarchy grants rights to use of the (agrarian) means of production in exchange for military service. The crown retains ownership. The East-India model is not feudal, it is mercantile. The government granted rights to exploit specific markets, but the company owned the means of production. Capitalism is defined by private ownership of the means of production regardless of how markets are structured or regulated. Popularly, people often use capitalism to mean free market capitalism, but that is only one type. Ownership and markets are separate phenomena. You can have government owned companies (socialist) competing in free markets and privately owned ones (capitalist) in government sanctioned monopolies and oligopolies (like cable companies).

Re:High density = no digging (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27465247)

Why not?

It's a perfect example of a free market - a free market for politicians. "Hyper-capitalism" basically means "make as much money as you can with as little effort/risk as you can", and if the best way to do that is to screw consumers over by getting the state to take away their choice, then you do exactly that.

Needless to say, this is why pure, unfettered anarcho-capitalism is not actually a good idea for society, too. You just need to step back and get over the indoctrination that "more capitalism" automatically always equals "better" - it does up to a certain point, but beyond that, the opposite is true. (Although people are going to disagree exactly where the sweet spot is.)

Why would you be digging? (4, Funny)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 5 years ago | (#27464573)

Don't you have telephone poles in America?

 

Re:Why would you be digging? (1)

LordKaT (619540) | more than 5 years ago | (#27464615)

Some towns do, some don't.

In New York City telephone poles are grandfathered devices. New wire should (has to?) be laid down underground.

Re:Why would you be digging? (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 5 years ago | (#27464823)

Ah well, they'll get everything they deserve then.

 

Re:Why would you be digging? (1)

psnyder (1326089) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465241)

I've lived in both NYC and Tokyo.
I don't remember telephone poles in NYC, but they're everywhere in Tokyo.

You can see them clearly in this picture outside of my Tokyo apartment [imageshack.us] .

But the price difference probably has a lot more to do with what this guy said [slashdot.org] .

Re:Why would you be digging? (4, Funny)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 5 years ago | (#27464631)

Don't you have telephone poles in America?

Q: Who was Alexander Graham Bell Kowalski?
A: The first telephone poll !

Re:Why would you be digging? (1)

Johnny00 (213878) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465127)

Depends where you live. A lot of utility lines are underground.

Re:High density = no digging (4, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 5 years ago | (#27464599)

And what is the population density in the areas where they are installing this $20/house fiber optic? Do they need to trench through miles of yards to get the lines there? And how much time and resources do they have to exert fighting the local dictators in each and every state/county before they can even begin? A straight "it costs $x vs $y" comparison without looking at all the factors is useless.

So, according to your theory, high-density cities like New York should have broadband on a par with Japan.

Of course, this overlooks the fact tht in Japan, just as in New York, it's MORE expensive to trench in a high-density area than in the exurbs, where you can just quickly string the cable along existing utility poles.

Re:High density = no digging (-1, Troll)

Caged (24585) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465159)

Uh no. If you start stringing cables along utility poles you get residents worried about the 'radiation' being 'emitted' by the coaxial line. Appearing on TV. Demanding the cable be buried in the ground. But Not In Their Backyard.

People are stupid.

Re:High density = no digging (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465403)

Uh no. If you start stringing cables along utility poles you get residents worried about the 'radiation' being 'emitted' by the coaxial line. Appearing on TV. Demanding the cable be buried in the ground. But Not In Their Backyard.

Uh no. Most places, you'll find that land deeds include servitudes for public utilities, and if the pole or conduit is already there, just string it along - no permission needed (not even permission to access the property 24/7/365 without notice).

The building itself is a different story ... but since this uses the existing cable tv infrastructure, it's not a big issue.

Re:High density = no digging (1)

cheebie (459397) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465433)

So, according to your theory, high-density cities like New York should have broadband on a par with Japan.

No, it would just be a fair comparison at that point. Japan may still win. They probably will, given that they built their way out of their own economic collapse recently.

Of course, this overlooks the fact tht in Japan, just as in New York, it's MORE expensive to trench in a high-density area than in the exurbs, where you can just quickly string the cable along existing utility poles.

And have the cable/internet/phones go down every time it snows. Verizon isn't stringing fiberoptic cable along poles for the simple reason that a break in the fiberoptic is not anywhere near as easy to patch as a break in telephone lines. They are trenching.

And the advantage of high density population centers is that you dig a trench to one apartment building, and
now you can snake through the walls to hundreds of customers. And often the utilities already have runs to all of these buildings in place.

Re:High density = no digging (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465507)

The japanese are using DOCSIS 3 modems over the cable network - $60 per house for the upgrade to 160mbit. At that price/point, fiber-optic is a waste of time and money.

Also, burying ANYTHING in an urban area is expensive, mostly because there's already so much buried (power, gas, water, data, traffic sensors, lighting ...) but also because it has to be done to the standards set by the municipality for buried lines. Stringing coax along a pole is a LOT cheaper.

Re:High density = no digging (4, Informative)

ruckc (111190) | more than 5 years ago | (#27464623)

What the article is saying is that you don't need fiber to the curb for the cable companies to get 100mbps service to the home. What Japan and other countries are doing is using the existing cabling with newer hardware. Verizon is running all new lines to their FIOS neighborhoods so of course its more expensive, its like comparing riding the bus to school and digging your own trench.

Additionally, I would prefer to trench through yards compared to running wiring in an older giant apartment complex that wasn't designed for rerunning cable throughout.

Re:High density = no digging (1)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 5 years ago | (#27464663)

"...digging your own trench."

You too? I had to, both ways.

Re:High density = no digging (1)

ruckc (111190) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465035)

Mom drove me home from school.

Re:High density = no digging (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27464711)

Someone didn't read the article before posting! oooooooooo!!!

about money, not efficiency (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27464509)

You mean in the US it's all about making money? It's not about trying to do the rollout as efficiently as possible? Especially when they can repeatedly charge the customer for it? I'm shocked. Ahhhh, the joys of a hyper-capitalist society.

Re:about money, not efficiency (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27464627)

Ahhhh, the joys of a hyper-capitalist society.

Indeed, It must be a joy to live in Japan, where they have less governmental regulation and therefore more competition which brings the price of this down. good comment.

Re:about money, not efficiency (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27464755)

And lolikon is legal...

Re:about money, not efficiency (1)

phoenix321 (734987) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465265)

In a Hyper-Capitalist society, every capitalist with enough capital could come riding with a white horse and shiny armor and start laying out some cable.

Competition is the hallmark of Capitalism. Hyper-Capitalism as a stronger, overdosed form of it would mean that all company activities are stretched out to deliver diminishing returns, because each and every one is trying to undercut each others prices.

Hypo-Capitalism, a pathologic lack of a free market and a lack of freedom to employ one's capital would bring no competition, monopolies and with it high prices.

Kill off the Invisible Hand and nothing gets done anymore, supplies plummet and the prices for everything soar. Like in, well, Feudalism and Socialism. Except for that in Socialism, prices are usually fixed, bankrupting the society some decades sooner or later.

Executive summary: hyper-capitalism has stiff competition where you cannot really cash in on your work or company. Hypo-capitalism or Feudalism is where you can have all the cash you want, but you cannot enter several or all markets without bribing officials or buying expensive official paperwork (read: licenses).

I want Fios (2, Interesting)

aoeu (532208) | more than 5 years ago | (#27464517)

It is right across the street and has been for three months. I watched while they put it on the poles. There is a coil of fiber hanging for each building. I'm planning on buying their triple play, who wants comcast. The fiber is not dark, many houses get it already on my street. My availability, not so much. They are not doing it right.

Re:I want Fios (3, Interesting)

aurispector (530273) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465105)

I talked to the guy stringing it up on our street last spring but I couldn't get anyone at Verizon to tell me when it would be ready to go. Once they did start marketing, the prices were unreasonable. If they made it cheaper than Comcast everyone everywhere would be onboard. Instead they're busy trying to gouge - giving Comcast time to roll out Docsys 3.0. They had a narrow window of time to beat the pants off Comcast and they missed it. Of course Comcast might have dropped prices to actually *compete*, but price competition is the LAST item on the list of things american telcos are willing to do for market share.

Things to remember (-1, Redundant)

jonwil (467024) | more than 5 years ago | (#27464519)

Most of Japan is high rises and stuff whereas America is all suburban, so lower population density. This means more cable is needed to get within range of everyone. Also, the kit the Japanese ISPs are using to connect people to the fiber is likely different to that Verizon is using (for example, the Japanese ISPs probably dont need to provide any kind of stuff to handle phone connections since just about EVERYONE has a mobile phone whereas Verizon has to support phone connections over FIOS with an expensive UPS to keep things going if there is an outage and someone needs to call 911 in a hurry.
Also, a lot of the buildings in the US are older than those in Japan and weren't built with telecommunications in mind (just try and wire up most tenements in New York for fiber and see how expensive it is to create all the holes, conduits and such that you need. And thats assuming you can afford to pay the huge fees the building owner will likely want before they let you do it (if they let you do it at all)

Re:Things to remember (4, Informative)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 5 years ago | (#27464665)

They're using the existing cable network, and sending their customers upgraded modems ($60 a pop) that can handle up to 160mpbs. No digging, no rewiring.

Re:Things to remember (1)

nysus (162232) | more than 5 years ago | (#27464695)

RTFA

Re:Things to remember (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27464795)

Hi, you must be new here.

Re:Things to remember (3, Insightful)

nloop (665733) | more than 5 years ago | (#27464773)

Did you read the article? I'm guessing no from your response.

The whole point of it was Japan used existing cable lines and upgraded it to docsis 3, which is cheap to do. There is no running of new cable to the highrises vs the suburbs. The article attributed the US's slow uptake of docsis 3 to lack of competition and fear of losing traditional cable services to streaming video. Not cost of adding new wire or running phone, which doesn't make any sense anyway because VoIP runs on cable just fine. The excessive cost is FiOS which is running new wire, but if the cable company wasn't asleep and upgraded their system before FiOS would be dead in the water.

Re:Things to remember (4, Insightful)

kremvax (307366) | more than 5 years ago | (#27464775)

>Most of Japan is high rises

>Also, a lot of the buildings in the US are older than those in Japan

You've clearly never ever been to Japan.

It's the network (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27464955)

for example, the Japanese ISPs probably dont need to provide any kind of stuff to handle phone connections since just about EVERYONE has a mobile phone whereas Verizon has to support phone connections over FIOS with an expensive UPS to keep things going if there is an outage and someone needs to call 911 in a hurry.

Then why doesn't Verizon just bundle basic cell phone service with FiOS? Verizon is The Network [verizonwireless.com] .

Re:It's the network (1)

rrossman2 (844318) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465643)

I stopped into a VZW store to get a BB Storm, and from what I heard when a customer service person was talking to a customer about VZW's new VoIP deal is that Verizon Wireless and Verizon (teleco) are essentially two separate entities.

Japan Broadband = Dense population (5, Informative)

overseasjp (1438367) | more than 5 years ago | (#27464533)

THe cost on this is actually pretty simple. I have been living in Japan for 10 years and yes we do enjoy some really incredible bandwidth here. Most of the population lives in very condensed areas. Greater Tokyo has about 30 million people in an area the size of LA... so rolling out the latest technology in one of the most wealthy and densely populated cities in the world is well... nearly easy if you can say that. Cell phones are the same way. Docomo, Softbank, AU etc.. rolled 3g out YEARS... before the US, simple put because logistically they can. Japan is 2/3 the size of California with 45% of the population of the entire US. 80% of the country is mountainous (ie.. nobody lives there) and half the countries population is centered in 4 or 5 cities. Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Sapporo.. Heaven for Technology fans. In a nutshell, you can roll out new technology fast and cheap because the distances between hubs are short, and the overall physical breadth and width of the network is small.

Re:Japan Broadband = Dense population (0, Troll)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27464835)

LA has about 30 million people in an area the size of LA, too, but many of them are illegal Mexicans who may have a cell phone but certainly don't have broadband. OTOH, LA and Tokyo are both slated to be submerged :)

Re:Japan Broadband = Dense population (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27465057)

Here's a hint from rural Japan. A small town in Hokkaido to be specific, which is pretty much the middle of nowhere. Population of 12,000 in an area a little under half of Tokyo "City" (23 wards). More specifically, a population density of 51.5 persons / sq. km versus Tokyo's 14,064 persons / sq. km. That's a 1:273 ratio. We don't have fiber, yet. They're installing it right now. We do have 54Mbps ADSL though, and have had it for some time. We also have 3G cell phone reception not only town wide, but in the mountains as well. The mountain range is the size of Kanagawa Prefecture, by the way, but as long as you're not in the shadow of a huge ridge, you'll get your mail.

What I'm saying is that it's a fallacy that Japan has high-tech only because of the population density. If that were true, only Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya would have these high-speed networks. Even Sapporo is way too spread out to compare. Yet the only areas that I know of that don't have high-speed internet that exceeds what is available in most homes in large U.S. cities, are the extremely remote villages way up in the mountains, which are even more remote than where we live.

I believe the fact that 97% of the population is covered with high-speed internet right now in Japan says something to that extent (even though that figure is a bit optimistic). Less than 20% of the Japanese population live in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya.

urban planning and land use (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27465109)

In a nutshell, you can roll out new technology fast and cheap because the distances between hubs are short, and the overall physical breadth and width of the network is small.

In other words, because they couldn't spread themselves over hell's half-acre (read: build suburbs and exurbs), they're finding benefits in other areas besides efficient land use.

Perhaps the first step in having the US getting (back?) into the broadband game would be to revise land use policies that don't assume the automobile is the greatest thing since fire.

Cars are very useful tools, but good urban design would allow them to be one option out of many (walking, cycling, transit) to get around.

Re:Japan Broadband = Dense population (1)

biggknifeparty (618904) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465151)

Japan's population is actually not that dense at all. Tokyo is roughly twice as dense as Toronto. Plus, 80% of people live in houses not "manshions" (appartments).

Re:Japan Broadband = Dense population (1)

rdnetto (955205) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465407)

What kind of bandwidth do you actually get in practice? I know the connection may be labelled ~160 MBPS, but what is the actual speed achieved when connecting to local sites?
I'm curious to see if the ratio of acutal-to-promised is the same as it is in the US.

Where are they putting the cables? (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 5 years ago | (#27464541)

Verizon is spending an average of $817 per home passed to wire neighborhoods for its FiOS fiber optic network and another $716 for equipment and labor in each home that subscribes,

WTF? Who knew running a cable between telephone poles cost so much.

 

Re:Where are they putting the cables? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27464583)

It gets expensive when you're talking about ripping up streets and digging trenches through neighborhoods to pull cable.

Re:Where are they putting the cables? (1)

thejynxed (831517) | more than 5 years ago | (#27464605)

They have to pay unionized labor costs and permit fees as well as the cost of materials like the cables and battery backups.

Re:Where are they putting the cables? (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465249)

Well, in my rant to the TWC marketing execs (https://rcbi.rochester.edu/weblog/vanooste/)I already explained that's what I pay on a yearly basis for them to give me a crappy 3Mbps copper-based service that's been there for the last 20 years. If that's all it costs for them to give us FiOS, I don't understand why it takes so long.

speed versus caps (1)

stonewallred (1465497) | more than 5 years ago | (#27464603)

Oh this is great. If TWC does this, you will be able to max out your 40GB cap in a matter of an hour or two.

Re:speed versus caps (1)

tylerni7 (944579) | more than 5 years ago | (#27464645)

Actually, at 160 Mbit, it would take just a bit over 30 minutes to max out a 40GB cap.

Re:speed versus caps (1)

stonewallred (1465497) | more than 5 years ago | (#27464739)

I figured it would take longer because just because the speed is there on your end, the swarms will not match your download speeds. Now if you are just pulling content without discrimination, yes you are correct on 30 minutes to max 40GB.

Re:speed versus caps (1)

TuaAmin13 (1359435) | more than 5 years ago | (#27464767)

Actually, at 160 Mbit (Actual speeds may vary), it would take just a bit over 30 minutes to max out a 40GB cap.

There, fixed it for you.

Re:speed versus caps (1)

dimension6 (558538) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465609)

Actually, I'm using a 100Mb line right now in Tokyo (roughly $50/mo. with a static IP address and all fees), and I do get the full 100 megabits, full duplex. Of course, I'm usually limited by the other party's connection, but when downloading things within Japan, the computer immediately slows down due to the hard disk sustaining writes at 8-9MB/sec.

I wonder if the 160Mb connection mentioned in the summary includes a gigabit router...

Journalism meets Technology ... (1, Informative)

LordKaT (619540) | more than 5 years ago | (#27464639)

J:Com's costs were substantially reduced because they rolled out DOCSIS 3.0 on their existing copper infrastructure.

Verizon is laying new infrastructure in the form of fiber-optic cable.

Ah the New York Times, where Journalism meets Technology like a retard smacking his head into a brick wall.

Re:Journalism meets Technology ... (5, Interesting)

v1 (525388) | more than 5 years ago | (#27464745)

What I wonder is, are companies like Cox pulling maneuvers similar to "Hollywood Accounting" [wikipedia.org] to make their end costs really high, which would appear to justify jacking everyone's rates up, but under the table they're paying themselves off (via their affiliate or otherwise owned companies) and turning an insane profit in the big picture?

Why don't the cable companies upgrade? Monopoly. (5, Insightful)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 5 years ago | (#27464789)

The article is badly written, it's true. However, the issue the article is trying to make clear is that there is a cheap way of providing much faster service: by upgrading cable service. Upgrading cable service doesn't require new cable, or work in the streets; it just requires new equipment at the central office and new modems for the customer.

The reason that the cable companies don't do that, apparently, is because in the U.S. they were granted poorly regulated monopolies. Therefore they can 1) lie to customers, 2) give poor service, and 3) give slow service, and still raise prices.

Re:Why don't the cable companies upgrade? Monopoly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27465611)

The Hybrid Fibre-Coaxial architectures used by the cable companies still suffer from being shared between a large number of people (several hundred or even a thousand, IIRC). Even if you were to use *all* the downstream bandwidth for internet rather than broadcast TV, there's maybe a megabit/s or two per user, sustained. Upstream is much worse. That's plenty for the time being, certainly, but far less than FTTH or even FTTC/VDSL2 is cable of.

Hip Hip Hooray? (1)

rinoid (451982) | more than 5 years ago | (#27464649)

Three cheers for unfettered capitalism!!!

Oh wait. You mean it's not really capitalism? There really isn't enough competition?! Yet they companies keep hiding behind the premise of free markets and profits?

Write your senators and representatives folks ... we all believe this is the future right? Where everyone has access to broadband and those who can't afford it are subsidized in some fashion? Information wants to be free right? Not just for some people.

The US will never get reasonable fast broadband in the current vacuum of competition.

Re:Hip Hip Hooray? (1)

witherstaff (713820) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465309)

Most of our telco laws are very corporatism in nature, monopolistic friendly. My local Rep was chairman of the telco subcommittee for years. His yearly donations from telco lobby groups were for last cycle $134,350. Hard to compete against those deep pockets no matter how many letters I write, letters to editor, etc.

I wish Google would have opened up some wireless competition. Android is cool and all but a real non ILEC competitor for the last mile would be even nicer.

final mile, not end-end (4, Insightful)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 5 years ago | (#27464733)

screamingly fast connections are only useful if the box that is serving up content can keep up. That means that not only the end-server, but every node along the way, as well as the capacity of the cables/fibres is up to the job.

While it makes for nice, simplistic headlines (and even more simplistic marketing - along with unfulfillable expectations that just cause resentment and ill-feeling later) it's largely pointless. Far better for the providers to come up with a balanced delivery, than to go around having to make excuses for who someone's gigabit/second link is only running at 1MByte/s in real life.

Re:final mile, not end-end (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27464975)

In conclusion, the US and Canada should stick to GSM wireless services because who would really need any faster anyway?

Fastest in the world? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27464769)

I question that. Here in Sweden I know of at least one company (bredband2) connecting private consumers at 1 gbit.

Re:Fastest in the world? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27465041)

Same here in Japan 1Gbps is also available from various providers depending on your location.

Unfortunately for me I am stuck with 100mbps :)

anyone remember the federal universal service fee? (2, Interesting)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 5 years ago | (#27464911)

That's something that we all get charged on our bills for the federally mandated fund that's supposed to be used to build out broadband infrastructure.

Why aren't they building out their infrastructure?

Why, instead of building upgrading to the highest speed available, are they only upgrading to the next increment?

It's the mentality of these industry giants. They spend as little as little as possible only when absolutely necessary. But they charge out the ass for it.

Comcast has the capability of providing 100Mbit service with their docsis 3.0 upgrades. Will they provide 100Mbit service? No. Because it makes more sense to charge double the normal rate for 20Mbit service.

They will probably provide 50Mbit service also. They will charge $300 for 50Mbit. Capitalism does not like innovation.

please cite (0, Troll)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465115)

please read the above page and get back to us about where it says the USF is collected to build out broadband infrastructure.

it is used in certain small and rural areas- but it is not for "everyone's network buildout"

Re:please cite (1)

witherstaff (713820) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465343)

It's not just USF. ILECs also got nice tax breaks and other concessions because they 'promised to wire america'. Teletruth.org [teletruth.org] has more info. Since they were part of the FCC Consumer Advisory Committee they know what they're talking about. The 200 billion dollar broadband scandal, talked about by Crigley and others, are based on this investigation.

DOCSIS 3 (1)

grumling (94709) | more than 5 years ago | (#27464929)

Comcast will have DOCSIS 3 nationwide by the end of the summer. Qwest is running fiber to the home in select areas. AT&T is still rolling out uVerse service. Verizon FiOS is still moving along. Clearwire, while not in the same league as the wired services, is building out. I agree the pricing is harsh, but faster Internet will be here soon.

The way the NYT article read, we'll never see any improvement over what we have now, and 6 months is an eternity. Meanwhile I click the "preview" button and wait 5-6 seconds for the page to build. What's up with that?

AM i missing something? (1)

koutbo6 (1134545) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465027)

Aren't the costs mentioned by NYT fixed in nature?
Which means, if they are higher, it would just take longer to recoup.
Lets use a liberal estimate of these costs and say it was $2000.
A customer paying $60 per month, would pay it in 34 months. Even if $40 were going towards paying that costs, and $20 to cover variable costs, it would take 50 months to recoup.

Seem to me like a reasonable time before an investment starts making profit. If only the telcos would just stop abusing their customers and win their loyalty for that period.

Here's another thought, could it be the legal fees and the mismanagement overhead what's making the telcos less profitable?

FIOS (1)

olddotter (638430) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465087)

My understanding of the Fiber to the home projects is that it is a legal maneuver to re-establish absolute monopoly on services to the home. I have heard that as they bring the fiber in they are ripping the copper out to ensure it is VERY expensive for you to decide to switch back to your old provider.

This is because of a law/regulation that says networks laid down during the telco-monopoly days must be shared with competitors at market rates. If they put in a new network for the "last mile" (or 100 feet) then they don't have to share.

This desire for monopoly pricing is driving American companies to invest huge amounts of money for technology that isn't technically superior any more.

Missing the Point (1)

Strick11 (1525009) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465111)

This article misses the point. Cable companies could make a profit selling higher bandwidths, but only at the expense of their real money maker, cable subscriptions. They've known since the mid-90s that the inevitable consequence increasing bandwidths would be the rise of services like Netflicks and Hulu (though we never envisioned them quite as they are), and the end of cable TV, where they make their real money. Everything they've done since then has been aware their fate and calculated to put off that end, the trading of their high profit product for a commodity, bandwidth, as long as they could. And that's the reason bandwidth suck in the US. Everything else, all the technical difficulties, etc., have been exaggerated as an excuse.

Not a fair comparison (0)

kenh (9056) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465125)

Obviously, the cost of a house passed is much much lower than an actual FTTH implementation, like the FiOS implementation priced at $716/house (compared with $20 to run cable past a "house"). What does the high-speed cable "modem" cost? The actual wiring in the house, etc.?

It costs more than $20 to simply run coax from my street to my house - that $20 number is silly.

And finally, I bet Verizon could run more than 160 Megabit over their fiber infrastructure to a house if they choose to - fiber has a lot of bandwidth, more than coax last I checked.

Because this feeds into a popular myth, it isn't questioned - but the excerpted text is just misleading.

Re:Not a fair comparison (1)

mdarksbane (587589) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465277)

I understand this is slashdot, but did *anyone* RTFA?

He's not comparing the cost of laying copper cable to the cost of laying Fibre.

He's comparing the cost of upgrading the boxes connected to the *existing* copper wire cable network to support up to 160 Mbits to the cost of laying NEW fibre.

Which is a reasonable comparison, given that these are our two options to get that kind of speed out to most people in the country right now. He is saying that it is ridiculous that to get that high speed we have to wait for verizon to spend $800 instead of Time Warner spending $20, because Time Warner refuses to spend that $20.

Time Warner could be giving us Japan-like speeds everywhere that their network currently reaches, but they are refusing to because they have a monopoly in those local areas, and therefore no incentive to improve a service that only competes with their over services.

J:com will eat the video stores (1)

lanceblack (969852) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465305)

I live in Tokyo. A few weeks ago the doorbell rang and a J:com salesman started trying to sell me some new package deal. I started to wave him away and close the door when my ears picked up the words "160 megabytes." Interested, I enquired further. The next day the cable guy came around to upgrade our system. We went from a basic 30meg line for 5500yen per month (US$55.00 give or take at today's rates) to a 160meg line, 100 cable channels, pay-on-demand selection of thousands of new-release movie titles in high-definition format, fixed phone and a DVD HDD/DVD recorder HDTV-ready box for 6200yen per month. I'm very happy. But Tsutaya, the leading movie rental chain in Japan, probably won't be.

Verizon built FiOS because they didn't have coax (1)

Brian Stretch (5304) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465413)

Comcast is rolling out DOCSIS 3, just like the "$20 per house" Japanese company, because they can reuse their existing coax cable. They may have to move the fiber nodes in their fiber/coax hybrid network a little closer to their customers but hey, no big deal. Eventually they'll have to go FTTH but they can get by for now.

Verizon's old telephone copper wire pairs are woefully inadequate for high speed Internet, much less video, so going straight to FTTH and reaping the operational cost savings from their state-of-the-art FiOS network (reliability of fiber, more automated diagnostics, fewer maintenance truck rolls required) makes sense. Fiber optic cable is expensive but it'll last for decades, just like the copper it replaced did. They can own the high-end of the market easily.

AT&T, unfortunately, decided to shoehorn Internet and TV into their existing copper pairs, call it U-verse, and trust that the average stock market analyst and NYT journalist is too ignorant to know what a joke it is. But at least they can reuse their new fiber nodes and settop boxes in the unlikely event that they finish the job and build FTTH.

Somebody smart could build dark FTTH networks and lease them to competing carriers, setting up the company as an old-fashioned dividend paying utility (which would work better were it not for the double taxing of dividends that's killed many a capital intensive American company but I digress). Separating the dumb dark fiber that lasts for decades from service providers' rapidly evolving electronics makes a lot of sense. Municipalities could build them, if they could refrain from the control-freakishness that helped kill UTopia. So could the power companies who already have rights-of-way, or new companies could emerge. But the incumbent carriers seem more interested in suing anyone new than engaging in rational cooperation.

Specious (1)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465499)

$20 per home passed indeed. It doesn't cost much per home to pass an apartment building with hundreds of homes and declare it eligible. Verizon is only building to single family homes right now; the cost per structure is lower than J:Com but the cost per home is higher.

On the other hand, the $716 per home hooked up is Verizon's own fault. They never have processed the old AT&T lesson that it ain't cool to require the customer to lease the CPE.

Japan Always FAST? Bull. I live in Sapporo, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27465505)

one of those MAJOR cities someone above mentioned, and I even have the fastest service available here- 50mb connection. I live on the edge of a major Japanese city, with 50mb internet connection.

But it's slow as hell. Granted, it's not cable internet- it's DSL. But that's all that's available here- at the edge of town. I've had the 8mb when I lived in the middle of town, and it was hella fast.

When we talk about Japan's fast internet- let's get something straight- we're talking about TOKYO. The rest of Japan gets a lot of DSL, still, from what I see, and even FiOS is just still spreading here.

Tokyo is an EXCEPTION. Granted, you can get internet in most places in Japan except remote places in the countryside, but don't go thinking anything outside Tokyo is even REMOTELY like Tokyo speed!

Investing in SP network? (1)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465647)

So if the cost to upgrade a house is $60, how much would a typical cable company need to invest in their own infrastructure in the core and distribution networks to deal with the higher amount of bandwidth.

I've got 16Mb down service wit Comcast, and if they gave me 100Mb, I don't think it would make that much of a difference, since I can almost never find sources that will provide me with enough content to fill that pipe. Even torrents with hundreds of seeders never get that high.

How would the service providers get a solid return on their investment? Will 100Mb/s connections get more people to switch providers or get more people to move fro dialup? I doubt there are people that are saying, "I'd drop my dialup connection for broadband, but I'm waiting for 100Mb/s." I'd be interested to know what percentage of customers opt for say the highest tiers possible although the price difference might be as small as $10/mo (it is for comcast to go from 6-16Mb).

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