A few months ago I talked about how residents in Hong Kong can find 1 Gigabit residential internet access for about four times what we see in the States, about 200Mbps for around $40.

Now in Japan, Martyn Williams reported in Networkworld recently that NTT now makes fiber-to-the-home (aka FTTH) available for less that $40 in some high rises:

"It turns out that Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. had just put a 1Gbps fiber-optic connection into the building, and fiber-to-the-home broadband is now available. For ¥4,200 ($36) per month, I can get a 100Mbps Internet line into my apartment and, if I don't care about losing my phone number, add telephone service for no charge.

"That's pretty impressive, as is Japan's growing fiber-to-the-home market. Of the 23.3 million homes that had broadband connections at the end of March, 5.5 million had home-fiber connections. That's just under a quarter of all domestic broadband links, and the number is growing fast."

Of course, it seems this low cost, high speed access comes at a price...

"All of this cheap bandwidth is not without it's problems for the companies providing it. The country's Internet backbone is starting to feel the strain of all these broadband connections. Peak traffic on the major domestic Internet exchanges was hitting 158Gbps at the end of last year, according to the Ministry of Information and Communications. That's about a third higher than the end of 2004 and about double 2003. After all, what are people doing with all this speed but downloading movies, watching online TV and engaging in other data-intensive activities?"

What else is there to take advantage of high-speed connections besides online gaming, Office 2007 Beta 2 downloads, Windows XP Updates...?

We've made use of our own high-speed cable connection for telephone, keeping in touch with the kids via video IM chat and sync'ing new tunes on our Rhapsody To Go service. It seems most of the high-speed we use in our home is dedicated to moving video and audio between various devices already in the home: streaming TV from our Media Center PC to TVs in other rooms, playing audio on a whole-house system, and head to head Xbox game matches without ever touching Xbox Live.

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