How do Korea and Japan Benefit from Broadband Price and Speed?

I noticed a fascinating couple of graphs in an article on the blog World Politics Review, Top 30 Countries for Broadband Internet Access. One of them showed Japan’s astounding average Internet speed: (note: because of difficulties at that site, they permanently lost that graphic. I recreated them, but the data has changed since then):


At the time I first checked (the old chart) Japan showed an impressive 15 megabits per second speed (I’m assuming this is for download as well as upload?) but Korea has now overtaken them at 25 megabits per second. I checked my broadband speed here in Canada via and my results are far better than that at the moment (about 52 megabits per second down, and 11.6 up).

Here’s another graph, from the Open Technology Institute regarding the Cost of Broadband worldwide. Here is the Average Speed of Plans Priced Between $35 and $50:

broadband cost
According to this, all that speed is incredibly cheap in Seoul, under a dollar per month per megabit in US Dollars, according to the article. Here in Vancouver, my Internet cost is coming in at about $78 for that 50 Megabits per second, so that works out to roughly $.64 (Canadian) per megabit, which would convert to almost exactly $.50 US per month per megabit. That’s better than the graph says (although it’s hard to tell, I’d read it at closer to $5 per month).

To make it a little clearly (maybe), here’s the chart for the Average Speed of Plans Priced over $50:

broadband plans over 50 per month

Now Tokyo clearly comes in with the biggest bang for buck, with spectacularly fast speeds (if you are willing to pay for them). I wonder if there are any Seoul plans over $50, or with the speed they get under that charge if nobody bothers.

Although I’ve been making some comparisons here, I’m wondering how life would change for me if Internet was about what it is now, but was 5 times faster, but I’m also wondering if this high level of service at relatively low cost would cause a flurry of Internet activity and development in Korea and Japan.

So, what’s it like? How has cheap, fast Broadband Internet made things different, and do you think it will change things in the coming decade? My friends in Korea Japan, your input here is welcome!

3 thoughts on “How do Korea and Japan Benefit from Broadband Price and Speed?

  1. I live in Tokyo, and I pay $40 (Canadian) per month unlimited usage for fiber-optic broadband with the speed of 100 megabits per second up and down.

    As for your assumption that many of us access the Internet exclusively via cell phones, that is not the case. Yes, we do use smart phones to access Internet when we are outside, but when we are inside we do use landlines. The user percentages of fiber/ADSL/cable are like 80/15/5 down here. 125 million people living on islands similar to the size of California (40 million of which living in the greater Tokyo area) made it easier and cheaper to cover almost the entire population with fiber-optic network.

    The low cost has caused us heavily dependent on Internet (I for one usually stay online for at least 10 hours a day and I no longer own a TV set because my laptop has high definition 16″ screen and built-in TV tuner.) Whether Japan as a country can benefit financially and intellectually from this low cost & high speed network remains to be seen.

    I’m planning to move to Vancouver next year, and I came across your post while I was trying to find out what the Internet cost and speed in Canada are like. Is it true that in Canada there is usage limit per month? The only other places where I encountered limited usages per month were in Australia and New Zealand. Must be a Commonwealth thing. Could you give me some idea what the cost would be in Vancouver if I wanted at least 10 megabits per second speed and unlimited usage?

  2. Hi KC. Thanks for the info. We just started getting fiber here in our building, and we signed up. I’m still in the first 6 months of the plan (which aren’t what it will eventually cost per month). My impression is that if you want 10 MPS and end up in a building served by Shaw, you can opt for slightly under, at 7.5 Mbps and pay about $35 per month before taxes, etc., or if you go for closer to 20 Mbps (which really ends up being closer to about 12-15 in my experience, because you are sharing your access point with others in your neighborhood), it runs about $45 per month.

    Here are the prices and plans:

    As for limits, yes, I there are some. Shaw’s higher speed service advertises a ‘100 GB/month data transfer’ which is I assume their cap. There is no plan that I know of anywhere for a consumer that offers unlimited usage. You might have to look to a TV for programming again, if you want to use your net connection to the degree you’ve been using it. I guess you’ll see what the difference to society is when there isn’t affordable, unlimited Internet if you move here next year.

  3. 6 years later, and I still have a cap, but, now with Telus, they give you the ability to pay a flat fee of $15 and get unlimited. It’s a good thing. My usage now regularly exceeds their cap.

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