Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Americans pay 7 times more than Japanese for broadband

Megabit per megabit, Americans pay seven times more than residents of Japan for broadband Internet access. Japanese consumers pay about 70 cents per megabit per second of bandwidth, compared to $4.90 per megabit on average in the U.S., according to Takashi Ebihara, senior director of the corporate strategy department at NTT East Corp. and a visiting fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington, D.C., think tank.

Why the difference? Unlike the U.S., Japanese government policy views broadband as vital infrastructure and provides economic assistance such as zero-interest or low-interest loans for cities and businesses to deploy broadband as well as tax breaks for the purchase of networking equipment, Ebihara said.

Ebihara, whose company is partly owned by the Japanese government, also credits a more future oriented, patient investment philosophy than in the U.S. "We see the future, and then we do what we feel is right," he said. "[Making low-yield investments is] very difficult for American companies like Verizon and AT&T. They have to answer every quarter to investors."

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