The Internet infrastructure in the U.S. is pathetic. It's slow, expensive and run by companies that care more about their bottom line than what their customers actually want. There is one bright spot though - Google Fiber and its record-breaking 1Gbps Internet service. Now a Japanese ISP is aiming to steal some of its thunder.
PCWorld reports that Sony-backed ISP So-net has launched a domestic 2Gbps Internet service in Tokyo and six surrounding prefectures. The download speeds are twice as fast as Google Fiber, whereas the upload speeds are the same 1Gbps.
Surely this super fast Internet must cost an arm and a leg, right? Not at all. So-net is only charging 4,980 yen, or $51, a month on a two-year contact. That's even cheaper than Google Fiber's already ridiculously cheap $70 a month just for Internet.
Of course, there are a few reasons why Japan is able to rollout this super fast Internet and ISPs in the U.S. can't. For one, Tokyo is closely packed in comparison to even our tightest cities making fiber rollout easy. The other, and more crucial, cause is that the Japanese government has been pushing for increased fiber proliferation in the country. Our own FCC has only just started to push for gigabit networks after years of saying 5Mbps down was good enough.
The moral of this story is not to say that Japan has better Internet than us, even if they do. The moral here is that the U.S. still has a long ways to go with its infrastructure before it can start to compete on a global scale. Google Fiber and other gigabit initiatives are doing their best, but we won't see true results until we start seeing true competition that scares the incumbents into actually upgrading its infrastructure.