by Derek Kerton

Don't Expect S. Korean Or Japanese Broadband In The US

Just for the record, although we in the USA have every right to complain about the high price we pay for relatively slow broadband, we shouldn't try to directly compare ourselves to Japan or any other country. The linked article is actually quite good as it discusses how the US Broadband providers are surreptitiously trying to create a two-tiered Internet, a tactic Techdirt despises. But the article makes the argument that US customers should get similar offers as "...the 100-megabit service [that are offered] in Japan for $25 month?" It turns out, this is an argument that it is easy for US carriers to defeat. Unless Americans are willing to move into densely packed cities, and live in 800 square feet (~100m.sq) apartments, we can't make a direct comparison of the USA and Japan. Europeans, Koreas, and Japanese ALL live in far smaller countries, usually in multi-tenant buildings, and with higher population density. These factors all make it relatively cheap to provide broadband, and (importantly) relatively cheap to upgrade core networks to the latest technology. So while we lack competition in the US broadband market, and thus get less-than-optimal service, we cannot simply argue that we should get the same DSL package as a Tokyo 'salaryman'. Click "Read More" for an example of how networks are different in other countries.Example of how network fundamental topology is different: In the US, a DSLAM is placed at the telco CO, so it can serve DSL to a number of houses within 3 miles of the CO, but in South Korea the DSLAMs are placed in the basements of each apartment building yet still serve a similar number of households. This makes the DSL runs shorter, and thus allows the use of more advanced vDSL. It also means that the "last mile" issue in these countries is almost trivial. Many apartments are now built with ethernet, so 100MB or Gig ethernet can run from the fiber drop in the basement right up to each apartment. America: we can have super fast, cheap broadband too. Just move out of your single-family home and move downtown into an huge condo building. Sell one or two of your cars which won't fit, and get rid of all that stuff you bought from cheap Chinese manufacturers that's filling your home. Sell off all that rural real estate between the East and West coasts to Mexico (and maybe pawn the Northwest to Canada), and THEN we can approach the telecom efficiencies of Japan. For me, though, I don't think it's worth it.

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