November 13, 2002  ·  Lessig

Here’s a company to watch: eAccess, Japan, building the fastest growing aDSL network in the world. They now offer 12 mbs (yes, I mean 12 mps) for $26/m, service within 7 days. And to celebrate their amazing success, on 12/12, they go public.

Talk to the extraordinary president of eAccess, Sachio Semmoto, and he’ll tell you the key to eAccess’s success: That Japan learned from the United States that access to copper had to be “open.” Open access meant new competition; competition has driven prices down, speed up.

It’s an amazing thing, competition. Apparently it doesn’t work in America, though. Now that the Japanese have profited from the American lesson on regulation, the Americans are retreating. The FCC is moving as quickly as it can to undo open access requirements.

Obviously, there are technical differences between Japan and the US that affect performance. All of Japan’s telecom is post 1950; a huge percentage of Japan’s population is within 6 km of a switching box. But forget 12 mbs for $26. I’d be happy with 1 mbs at $26. Living in the city in SF, I can’t even get that.

  • Chris Yu

    Yes, it’s open for DSL but you must participate in the phone company’s monopoly. Sadly, DSL in Japan still requires you to pay NTT (the national phone monopoly) the base rate for the residential phone line (about $700 flat fee plus monthlies and per minute charges on every call irregardless of distance) or the rental of a line. For those of us who decide not to pay it and go wireless, we need to buy “Type 2 DSL” which includes a monopoly fee of about $20/mo additional to NTT for which you receive nothing in return.

    It’s better than one company offering DSL but not quite free of the bell-heads yet.

  • Anonymous

    The Japanese installed a lot of ISDN (predecessor to ADSL) too. The ADSL standard variant for Japan (called ‘annex C’) is a gross hack because of the need not to interfere with all the ISDN lines. (The small number of people with ISDN elsewhere will have to switch to ADSL)

  • Anonymous

    You wrote “They now offer 12 mbs (yes, I mean 12 mps)”. That has at least one important typo. Do you mean “Mbps”?

  • Dan

    eAccess is no longer the company to watch in ADSL in Japan. about a year ago it relinquished the role of being a market innovator to Yahoo Japan, which is offering combination IP telephony, wireless LAN access and 12Mbps ADSL

  • Andy Freeman

    Bad customer service recently prompted me to look at DSL modems and what I found surprised me. It looks like the cheap consumer-grade DSL modems already support 8Mbps.

    I’d be surprised if the CLECs and ILECs all bought their DSLAMs 5 years ago; I’ll bet that many COs have equipment that supports more than the 1.5M/128k combo that is typical in the US.

    In other words, DSL is already where it took Ethernet years to get – the slow stuff isn’t cheaper and will soon become unavailable. (Try to find a 10Mbps-only interface for a PC. The 10/100 cards are $10 and most new PCs come with that built-in.)

    Yes, there may not be enough (day-time peak) bandwidth from the CO on, but we’re already to the point where bandwidth is limited more by biz-model fiction than by technology.

    BTW – One tiny ISP, Cyberonic, is reselling WorldCom’s 1.5/768 service for $50/month (or $40 with a long-term contract), complete with a static IP.