Japan, Soon to Be Fiber Broadband Nation

Japan is enjoying a broadband boom, like never before. According to information released by Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, there were 21.43 million broadband subscribers in Japan at the end of September 2005, up from 17.65 million at the end of September 2004. The increase was across the board, with all major broadband access technologies – ADSL, Fiber To The Home, Cable and Fixed Wireless – picking up new business.

But it is the FTTH that has been the big winner. The number of FTTH connections grew 196% and increased their share of broadband market to 18.6%. In comparison, ADSL share of the market skidded from 72.5% in September 2004 to 66.8% in September 2005. Cable & Fixed Wireless showed modest declines in their market share.

Softbank BB has been the lightening rod for japan and has recently become very aggressive in the FTTH space, which is now being reflected in the market place. MM Research Institute recently forecasted that by March 2006, there will be 23.4 million broadband subscribers, and 33 million by the end of March 2008. FTTH subscribers are expected to hit 5.4 million by the end of March 2006, reports Telecom Paper. Japanese trends could prove to be very telling: while ADSL can be a good interim solution, fiber might be the better long term bet. (Hat Tip, Dirk van der Woude)