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U.S. Can't Compete With Japanese Web Quality

Americans invented the Internet, but the Japanese are running away with it. Broadband service in the Land of the Rising Sun is anywhere from eight to 30 times faster than the U.S. (depending on where you live)--not to mention cheaper. Studies show that it has the world's fastest connections, too, which will likely make Japan the vanguard of Internet innovation for years to come.

Indeed, the U.S. lags behind Japan, South Korea and much of Europe in terms of broadband speed, and lack of regulation by the U.S. government is partly to blame. Intense lobbying by telecommunications firms has protected U.S. firms from being opened to wider competition. Competition in the wire market, in particular, is what's driven Japan's rise to prominence. By offering big phone companies huge subsidies, the Japanese government compelled Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. to a nationwide build-out of fiber-optic wire to homes. The shorter, faster wires enable the transfer of information at speeds of up to 17 times faster than in the U.S.

The result? The Japanese can watch broadcast-quality, full-screen HD television over the Web, an experience that puts our grainy, windowed, broadband video to shame. The quality is so good it even allows doctors to make crucial surgical decisions through video conferencing.

Read the whole story at The Washington Post »

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