Internet access in Japan (was Re: BitTorrent swarms have a deadly bite on broadband nets)

I did consulting work for NTT in 2001 and 2002 and visited their Tokyo =
headquarters twice. NTT has two ILEC divisions, NTT East and NTT West. =
The ILEC management told me in conversations that there was no money in =
fiber-to-the-home; the entire rollout was due to government pressure and =
was well below a competitive rate of return. Similarly, NTT kept staff =
they did not need becuase the government wanted to maintain high =
employment in Japan and avoid the social stress that results from =
massive layoffs.

Mmm hmm. That sounds somewhat like the system we were promised here in
America. We were told by the ILEC's that it was going to be very expensive
and that they had little incentive to do it, so we offered them a package
of incentives - some figure as much as $200 billion worth.


You should not assume that 'Japanese capitalism' works =
like American capitalism.

That could well be; it appears that American capitalism is much better at
lobbying the political system. They eventually found ways way to take
their money and run without actually delivering on the promises they made.
I'll bet the American system paid out a lot better for a lot less work.

Anyways, it's clear to me that any high bandwidth deployment is an immense
investment for a society, and one of the really interesting meta-questions
is whether or not such an investment will still be paying off in ten years,
or twenty, or...

The POTS network, which merely had to transmit voice, and never had to
deal with substantial growth of the underlying bandwidth (mainly moving
from analog to digital trunks, which "increased" but then fixed the
bandwidth), was a long-term investment that has paid off for the telcos
over the years, even if there was a lot of wailing along the way.

However, one of the notable things about data is that our needs have
continued to grow. Twenty years ago, a 9600 bps Internet connection
might have served a large community, where it was mostly used for
messaging and an occasional interactive session. Fifteen years ago,
a 14.4 bps was a nice connection for a single user. Ten years ago,
a 1Mbps connection was pretty sweet (maybe a bit less for DSL, a bit
more for cable).

Things pretty much go awry at that point, and we no longer see such
impressive progression in average end-user Internet connection speeds.
This didn't stop speed increases elsewhere, but it did put the brakes
on rapid increases here.

If we had received the promised FTTH network, we'd have speeds of up
to 45Mbps, which would definitely be in-line with previous growth (and
the growth of computing and storage technologies).

At a LAN networking level, we've gone from 10Mbps to 100Mbps to 1Gbps
as the standard ethernet interface that you might find on computers and
networking devices.

So the question is, had things gone differently, would 45Mbps still be
adequate? And would it be adequate in 10 or 20 years? And what effect
would that have had overall?

Certainly it would be a driving force for continued rapid growth in
both networking and Internet technologies. As has been noted here in the
past, current Ethernet (40G/100G) standards efforts haven't been really
keeping pace with historical speed growth trends.

Has the failure to deploy true high-speed broadband in a large and key
market such as the US resulted in less pressure on vendors by networks
for the next generations of high-speed networking?

Or, getting back to the actual situation here in the US, what implications
does the continued evolution of US broadband have for other network
operators? As the ILEC's and cablecos continue to grow and dominate the
end-user Internet market, what's the outlook on other independent networks,
content providers, etc.? The implications of the so-called net neutrality
issues are just one example of future issues.

... JG