December 12, 2002  ·  Lessig


So the price war for broadband continues here in Japan. This snippet, shot from Jiro Kokuryo’s phone, tells it all. NTT now offers 12 mbs for about $20/month. And 100 mbs (fiber) for $46/month. According to, I can get 1.5 mbs for $50/month in San Francisco. Where is war when you need it?

  • Rob Woodard

    Here’s a link to an interesting supporting article:

    From reading this one article it would appear that the “broadband price war” you cite didn’t happen until the government came along and declared it. That’s just not going to happen here, certainly not with a pro-business Republican administration and Congress.

  • ToastyKen

    Isn’t one reason for this the population density, though? I’d imagine the costs of supplying fiber to a giant apartment of users would be a lot cheaper than supplying bandwidth to various people scattered throughout the suburbs..

  • Chris Bratlien

    The article repeatedly refers to the concept of ‘unbundling’ as being a catalyst for broadband growth. Can someone explain ‘unbundling’ to me?

    Also, I am impressed at how significantly reduced the mbs offered to a household in the US is.

  • Rob Woodard

    I’ll take a stab at it, at least as I understand it. The national telecommunications infrastructure, composed (exclusively until relatively recently) of copper wires strung on poles or in cables buried underground, was installed by the Bell system. When you purchased telephone service from Ma Bell, you purchased access to the wires run between your house and their local “central office”, the ability to have your connections switched to other subscribers connected to that same CO, the ability to connect to subscribers connected to other COs nearby, other COs farther away, etc. This was all “bundled” together as part of your basic phone bill; you got it all from one place, Ma Bell (and later the Baby Bells). You couldn’t elect to pay Ameritech for your local loop service, SBC for local long distance and Pac Bell for national long distance. And new companies couldn’t get in to compete because stringing new wires for each company just wasn’t practical (imagine the web of wires, all from different companies!), and the incumbent owners (Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers, or ILECs) wouldn’t sell access to their systems to competitors (Competitive Local Exchange Carriers, or CLECs).

    The government stepped in (in 1996) and said that the ILECs *must* allow CLECs to purchase and resell access to their local loops and all the subsystems that linked their COs. This was the only way to promote competition and hopefully growth in the telecommunications industry. It hasn’t been terribly successful in that; instead, the ILECs have squeezed out most of the CLECs and have gotten the rules changed so they can reassert their monopolies by merging back together. Anyway, that’s what I think is meant by unbundling: selling access to each part of the telecommunications network individually.

    Here are some supporting links:

    A Michigan study
    An Xchange Magazine article

  • Anonymous

    Can the Iraqis hear or see are tv news?
    If so Why are we telling everything we know on tv.

  • Anonymous

    smoke crak not iraq