Japanese media giant has a bold if somewhat self-serving plan to cover the country in optical fiber
By John Boyd / November 2010
Japan has long been regarded as a leader when it comes to providing broadband connectivity and deploying “fiber to the home” (FTTH). Yet entrepreneur Masayoshi Son, chairman and CEO of telecom and media company SoftBank Corp., is critical of the way broadband technology is being implemented and has urged the government to back his ideas for radical change.
As is the case in most developed countries, the Japanese industry is employing broadband in two ways: over existing copper phone lines using digital subscriber line (DSL) technology, which provides theoretical maximum download speeds of around 50 megabits per second, and over newly laid optical fiber cable with the claim of delivering data at up to 200 Mb/s. Even though SoftBank has the largest number of DSL subscribers—a 38 percent market share—Son says this two-tier deployment strategy is costly and inefficient and is causing Japan to lose its competitive edge.