This whole article is a must read, especially for someone like me who’s bemoaning his sad little 1.5 megabit per second connection to the net (and that’s when it works properly). But note below: 100Mbps for $20 a month. Jebus. I’d have to pay $100 month for a 3Mbps connection, or get cable (at $150 a month) to pay $100 per month for a 5 Mbps connection. SAD.
Japan went from being among the most expensive countries for residential Internet bandwidth a decade ago to absolutely the cheapest today. While some of this change can be attributed to technology improvements, most of the change can be attributed to competition, specifically the entry of Softbank BB into the Japanese broadband market. Softbank BB entered the Japanese market early this decade with loss-leader pricing that forced all the incumbent broadband suppliers to respond in kind, leading to a dramatic expansion of the Japanese broadband market where today residential 100-megabit-per-second service costs less than $20 per month.
This Japanese model does not apply well to the U.S., where there is no broadband provider willing to take the bet-the-farm approach of Softbank BB. The U.S. market also has no true national broadband ISPs that operate on a scale comparable to those in Japan. And the topology of the U.S. Internet is such that the high-bandwidth technologies applied in Japan would not work as well here simply because of a larger rural customer base.
and again, to force the point home:
Of the 30+ nations that can be judged to have residential Internet service superior to the U.S., in case after case that superiority can be attributed to government funding of infrastructure, to largely urban (short-distance) topologies, or to aggressive competition.