April 15, 2013, 8:46 AM — A Sony-backed ISP in Japan has launched a 2Gbps Internet service, which it said is the world's fastest for home use.
So-net Entertainment began offering its "Nuro" fiber-based service on Monday to homes, apartments, and small businesses in Tokyo and six surrounding prefectures. Nuro will cost ¥4,980 (US$51) per month on a two-year contract, plus a ¥52,500 installation fee that it is currently offering for free for those that apply online. The upload speed is 1Gbps.
The company said the service includes rental of an ONU (optical network unit) designed to handle the high speeds. ONU devices are commonly used in homes and business to convert fiber to broadband Internet. Individual users of the service are unlikely to see 2Gbps speeds on their devices, as it exceeds the capacity of most consumer network adaptors.
The Japanese government has strongly backed fiber connections to private residences, and the country is now among the world leaders. About 25 percent of Japanese households are currently connected, the second-highest rate in the world, according to data from regional FTTH, or Fibre to the Home, organizations. The UAE is the highest at over 70 percent.
Much of Japan's population in Tokyo and other cities lives in tightly packed apartments, which has made it easier to roll out fiber services. Services offering 1Gbps are now common, with providers slashing prices and offering hundreds of dollars in discounts to draw subscribers. As in other countries, the rollout has been much lower in lower-populated rural areas.
So-net said its service uses the GPON, or Gigabit-capable Passive Optics Networks, standard, which supports up to 2.488 Gbps downstream.