Traffic on the highways in Japan often moves along at a snail’s pace most of the day and is total gridlock at rush hour. However, the country does know a thing or two about moving along at high speeds. Japan’s Skinkansen – or bullet train – remains one of the fastest in the world and last year the island nation’s Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Tokai) unveiled a prototype of what promises to deliver even faster train service to Japan. Moving people is one thing, but the country also is looking to move data at ever-increasing speeds.
The Japanese information superhighway could soon help data travel at some of the fastest speeds possible.
This week a Sony-backed ISP in Japan launched a 2Gbps Internet service, which could be the world’s fastest for home use. As with the new ultra-fast railway the roll out of this new Internet service will be small and limited to select areas.
On Monday, So-net Entertainment’s “Nuro” fiber-based service was made available to homes, apartments and small businesses in Tokyo and six-surrounding prefectures. The service, which used the Gigabit-capable Passive Optics Network (GPON), will support download speeds of 2.488 Gbps with 1Gbps uploads, and Nuro will reportedly cost $51 US per month.
Subscribers will have to agree to a two-year contract and an installation fee of $540 US. However So-net is currently waiving this fee to customers who apply for the service online.
The Japanese government has reportedly been a strong backer of fiber connections to private residences, and as a result the country is now a world leader in the technology. About a quarter of Japanese households are now connected via fiber, making the nation the second-highest in the world after the UAE, which has more than a 70 percent connection rate, according to data from FTTH (Fibre to the Home), as reported by ComputerWorld.
Getting Tokyo’s residents connected via fiber is actually less of a challenge as much of the population lives in tightly packed apartments in a relatively condensed area. This could make the roll-out of the new Internet service relatively easy compared to what other cities might face.
American customers face greater challenges in getting connected via fiber. However, last week rumors circulated – and were then confirmed – Google Fiber would expand to Austin.
The Texas capital will likely get connected to the Google-based service by mid-2014, and the product offerings will likely be similar to what Google now offers in Kansas City, including Gigabit Internet and Google Fiber TV. The latter provides more than 200 HD channels and Gigabit Internet, according to Ubergizmo.
Google Fiber, while still fast compared to other technologies currently available in the United States, is slower than Nuro – with Google’s technology topping out at about 1Gbps for downloads.
However, faster downloads are only one part of a larger equation, and many users might not even be able to take advantage of all that these high-speed delivery systems provide. Current computer technology can only accept up to one gigabyte through a wired connection, and Wi-Fi typically can handle even less. The high-speed technology does offer advantages for users with multiple computers, as it can handle the increased load.