Google Fiber has the industry buzzing about its symmetrical 1 Gigabit per second fiber-to-the-home network. An ISP in Japan might call that a pretty good start.
So-Net Entertainment has raised the broadband bar, at least in the downstream, with a GPON-based, fiber-to-the-home service that maxes out at 2 Gbps down by 1 Gbps upstream. Can customers' home equipment even handle all that speed? That's a different story. But So-Net's “Nuro” tier sells for 4,980 yen ($51.80) per month with a two-year contract. The ISP is currently waiving an installation fee of 52,500 yen ($535.49), according to PC World. If you can read Japanese, here’s So-net’s announcement.
For comparison’s sake, the fastest DOCSIS-based tier from J:COM, Japan’s largest cable operator, tops out at 160 Mbps down by 10 Mbps upstream, and runs about 6,000 yen ($61.20) per month.
So-net’s new ludicrous speed tier may change this, but Ookla’s current NetIndex report has Japan ranked as the eighth-fastest ISP in terms of mean speed (30.89 Mbps), with the U.S. clocking in at 17.33 Mbps, good for 31st.
A little more on So-Net, now that it's grabbed our attention: In January, it became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony Corp. Founded in 1995, it had 2.1 million broadband subscribers as of Sept. 30, 2012.