Bright, Quick, & Flexible

In Japan, we have found that there are a lot of choices for broadband internet connections. Softbank brought all the pricing down by their now famous (and much copied) sales campaign. They branded the service Yahoo BB (BB for broadband). They had young part timers with DSL modems in a shopping bag on what seemed like every corner, telling people to take home a modem and plug it in. The big point was the usage was free for two-months. They got a lot of market share and shocked the incumbent carrier NTT. Not only did NTT have to cut their pricing, but they also had to try to be a little creative as all this business was going to a competitor. That competitor is now trying to do a similar thing in the Japanese wireless arena. Unfortunately, they are using deceptive advertising that says one thing and delivers much less.

For AINEO, we have really been happy with NTT’s BFlets service. It delivers a FTTH (Fiber to the Home) connection to the facility with a top speed of 100 mbps. When it is installed you actually see about 65 mbps. With this type of throughput Japan has currently got the best broadband in the world. With no IP address, the service included an ISP is about \7,000/month. In the US, we understand Americans tend to pay about $50/month for 1-3 mbps. I think the actual Japanese FTTH service delivers 30-50 mbps once you put it through a router. The service is provided by NTT and the ISP can be any company that provides PPPoE. We found Asahi Net had the best pricing, although even after cancelling the service we continued to have charges on our credit card for six (6) months.

This fiber optic service is fast and cost-effective. Many of the DSL subscribers have moved to the FTTH. AINEO has built a lot of offices with this fiber optic internet access. Why would you put in a dedicated service that costs \200,000 to \300,000/month, when you can get set up a VPN through a faster, cheaper, and just as reliable service? The “just as reliable” point there is where we loose a few people. It is a “best effort” service so there are no service level agreements saying that you will get 100 mbps. We have had one AINEO datacenter on this service for about 3 years now, and have had no problems with it.

Of course, no one wants to put all of their eggs in one basket. We actually recommend against using NTT’s Bflets along with their OCN ISP service. Four of AINEO’s client sites lost interest access in 2004 when NTT’s OCN service went down. All of our Tokyo sites were fine, so it took about an hour to figure out that the service outage was OCN not the actual fiber. Another great option is through the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). They have taken advantage of their electrical cable access and implemented fiber optic-based internet access as well. I would seriously consider using TEPCO as their service is probably less-crowded. The only issue might be they could have long delivery times.

We were recently impressed by their TEPCO Cable Television service. Instead of coming in through fiber, they come in via coaxial cable. They have sales people that actually came to our house to sign us up. We terminated our NTT phone number and got an IP phone number (050-XXXX-XXXX). The number is \700/month and has \8/minute international calling to the US. They were very helpful. For someone who is new to the internet, it is very easy to use. You just plug your hub/router to their modem and start using it. (With PPPoE, you have to mess with logins and passwords to a line that is installed to your house). The call center representatives were very courteous and helpful.

We highly recommend TEPCO Cable TV Internet access to the home users. For the office, Fiber from NTT and TEPCO give you the best throughput in the world, right here in Japan.

© 2006 AINEO Corporation, Spencer Wolfe