Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Japan stomps US ass

Just a short time ago, in 1999-2000, Internet access in Japan was absurdly expensive. Ridiculously so, in part due to the fact that NTT had pretty much a monopoly on phone and Internet services. It actually cost almost as much to send an e-mail to the States as it did to make a discount phone call.

That has all changed now as Japan has some of the highest speed Internet connections in the world and a very high percentage of users connected to broadband. The situation has pretty much reversed. Basic prices are still slightly higher here I believe (not including broadband) but it is now very reasonable.

One has to wonder how this happened. One reason: In this area, the Japanese government actually (shockingly) forced competition by permitting smaller companies to rent NTT copper lines at cheap rates. The US did too for a while, but this all changed in 2003 when:

...the Federal Communications Commission and a federal court ruled that major companies do not have to share phone or fiber lines with competitors. The Bush administration did not appeal the court ruling.

"The Bush administration largely turned its back on the Internet, so we have just drifted downwards"


As the United States drifted, a prominent venture capitalist in Japan pounced on his government's decision to open up the country's copper wire.

Masayoshi Son, head of a company called Softbank, offered broadband that was much cheaper and more than six times as fast as NTT's. From The Washington Post: Japan's Warp-Speed Ride to Internet Future.

No problem, the US has been looking for WMD in Iraq. Just wait until the next election when perhaps a Democrat gets in. Everything will change then. AHAHAHAHA. Nothing will change. The US sees security as primarily military, and Japan sees it as economic.

Of course the US still holds the lead in complex financial schemes which nobody can clearly understand and are very good at sucking the naive or greedy into hopeless, long-term debt and then bailing out the investors who---both foreign and domestic---were naive or greedy enough to assist in the scheme. And we are very good at producing obese folks.

I just wish Japan would allow foreign computer makers more access to the market. It would be nice to get a up-to-date PC at a reasonable price instead of having to buy an old, out-of-date, Japanese brand clunker for a price higher than a good one costs. You can get Apple or IBM and a few others---at a high price---but I cannot find any Taiwanese made (or other origin) brands. But at least I can get good Internet access and service.

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