The Internet Blossoms in Its own Way Here

Thanks to a decades-long government monopoly controlling local telephone service, connecting to the internet via telephone used to be a deliberate choice. Metering each and every minute of connected time kept the average Japanese from venturing too far or logging in frequently. Even though a special rate plan for unlimited calling between 11PM and 8AM was offered, limitations on access temporarily stunted the growth of websites in Japanese. Then in 1999, the advent of digital cellular technology supplied cellular phone subscribers with access to menus of proprietary content as well as a built-in email address and connection to the web. With immediate access from the handset, the Japanese embraced the utility of accessing content "on the go." During this time, digital cellular accounts with internet access surpassed the number of dialup internet accounts. But full-color rich content and fixed-rate dialup plans are luring users back to desktop access. In 2001 ISDN lines at 64 kbps and ADSL service up to 1.5 Mbps are being rolled out at fixed monthly rate plans. Moreover, some businesses are eyeing fiberoptic cable connections to the home for true broadband delivery.

Internet in Japan: Chart of Events

January 7 Softbank consolidates four companies to form Softbank Broadband as the operating company for its Yahoo BB ADSL internet service.
February Cable internet subscribers exceed 2 million.
October 1 Jupiter Programming, Tohokushinsha, Secom, and Nikkei News establish Online TV, a broadband multichannel broadcast venture.
October 3 Major ADSL vendor eAccess completes hugely successful IPO.
DecemberADSL subscribers nationwide exceed 10 million.
January 18 Tokyo Electric Power obtains conditional approval to become broadband datacom operations.
January 31 Fuji TV, TBS, and TV Asahi lead establishment of broadband content company Toresola.
February 1 SkyPerfecTV begins commercial broadband delivery trials.
February 12 Usen Corporation begins Broad-Gate 02, its fiberoptic ISP service for businesses.
February 13 Fuji Sony and Sony Commmunication Network launch broadband portal "So-net Broadband Mega-Channel."
February 22 Microsoft releases XBOX.
March 31 eBay ceases operations of Japan office and Japanese site.
March 31 SkyPerfecTV and NTT begin streaming video tests on fiberoptic cable.
April 1 Mobile Internet Service launches wireless broadband connectivity service.
April JDS launches fiberoptic "Backbone Service" for cable operators offering broadband internet connectivity on a proprietary network.
May 7 DSL provider Yahoo BB begins wireless connectivity option by installing connection points in McDonald's restaurants. This initiative continues with installations at Mr. Donuts and Starbucks Coffee locations.
JuneSpeedNet tops 10,000 subscribers.
JuneB Maga (Broadband Magazine) publishes innaugural issue.
July 1Yahoo BB merges with Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya Metallic Communications.
August 1SkyPerfect Communications launches commercial services of its broadband internet portal SkyPerfect BB.
SeptemberYahoo BB signs up over 1 million ADSL subs.
SeptemberFTTH broadband internet users exceed 100,000.
DecemberADSL subscribers nationwide exceed 5 million.
February DSL access skyrockets with over 10,000 subs added in one month.
February JPNIC establishes Japan Registry Service Co. (JRSC) to commercially administer '.jp' domain names.
March 1 Usen Corp. begins roll out of 100Mbps FTTH broadband network for internet access and proprietary services.
March 4 NTT Docomo i-mode subscribers top 20 million.
April Japan Digital Serve and SCC form "Programming Distribution Center," the planning company that becomes i-HITS Co., Ltd.
April 1 Akamai Technologies Japan established as joint venture with SoftBank.
May 15 MEI establishes Hi-Ho Broadband with TIS (24.5%) and PFU (24.5%) as 51% shareholder.
May 25 SpeedNet launches FWA broadband internet service in Saitama.
June 29 NTT establishes NTT Broadband Initiative (NTT-BB).
June 30 usen tops 1,000 FTTH subscribers.
July SoftBank makes TOB for ADSL pioneer Tokyo Metallic Communications.
July 31 DSL subscribers exceed 400,000.
Aug. 1 Tokai Broadband begins offering ADSL broadband connectivity in Tokyo.
Aug. 1 NTT begins offering FTTH broadband connectivity.
September SkyPerfecTV announced participation in broadband internet program delivery trials with NTT, KDDI, and Japan Telecom affiliates.
December i-HITS established as operating company to deliver broadband content.
Dec. 8 WOWOW begins pay VOD trials over broadband internet.
December 31 ADSL subscribers exceed 1.5 million nationwide.
March 25 TITUS Communications ALLNET cable internet subs top 20,000.
June 19 Net@Home (@Home Japan) launches broadband internet service.
September 1 Merger with No. 2 MSO TITUS Communications makes No. 1 MSO J-Com an ISP with over 70,000 cable internet subscribers.
October Major Telcos Nippon Telecom, KDDI, and TTNet follow NTT in offering flat-rate dial-up internet service.
December 26 NTT announces official entry to DSL market with "FLETS-ADSL" service.
February 22 NTT Docomo launches i-mode service enabling digital cellular handsets to become terminals for internet email correspondence, web access, and proprietary interactive content menus.
July 29 Tokyo Metallic Communications Corp. is established as DSL provider for broadband internet and online multimedia connectivity.
August 8 NTT Docomo i-mode subscribers top 1 million.
November Sachio Senmoto and Eric Gan found e-Access as a broadband (DSL) ISP, web hosting service, ASP, and IP backbone architect business.
December Aggregate subscribers of top 15 dial-up ISP's in Japan exceed 10 million.
December NTT initiates testing of ADSL service.
April KAME Project initiated between private and academic sectors toward establishing free IPv6 and IPsec stack for BSD operating system variants around the world.
October TITUS Communications launches cable internet service ALLNET.
Copyright © 2002 SARJAM Communications Ltd.    All rights reserved.