While Google Fiber exploded on the scene offering insanely fast home internet speeds at a very reasonable price, most assumed that it would be the fastest home internet available for a while. However, it appears that Japan may soon be enjoying speeds that can reach up to twice that. Sony-backed ISP So-Net has just launched a service called Nuro, claiming to push a 2Gbps connection straight to people's homes, as Engadget are reporting.
The service will provide customers with a 2Gbps download speed and a 1Gbps upload speed, which thrashes Google's 1Gbps upload and download speeds. Like Google, it appears the service is only offered in very limited locations. Customers located in Chiba, Gunma, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Tokyo, Kanagawa and Saitama will be the only ones able to enjoy the service for now.
Perhaps the biggest issue with internet of this speed is making sure you have the proper equipment to support it. Until Google Fiber came along, even people who were able to enjoy speeds of this velocity likely didn't have the proper equipment to use it to its fullest. Google Fiber very generously provided its customers with the proper equipment to enjoy the speeds using both wired and wireless connections. It seems that So-Net has taken a page out of Google's book as they are providing each customer with an optical network unit (ONU). These ONUs will be fitted with 3 Gigabit Ethernet ports and can offer speeds up to 450Mbps over 802.11 a/b/g/n.
It's important to note that it is very unlikely that customers will actually be able to achieve a download speed of 2Gbps even with the equipment provided by So-Net. This is because most network adapters used by consumers cannot support this type of speed. As some of you are aware, housing conditions in major Japanese cities are very tightly packed, making Gigabit Ethernet very easy to roll out. As a result, 25% of Japanese households currently enjoy at least a 1Gbps connection.
Those who sign a 2-year contract will enjoy the service at 4,980 yen ($51) per month, which is cheaper than Google's fastest offerings. In addition, they will have to pay and additional 52,500 yen ($540) installation fee. Luckily, the users that sign up online will have this fee waived.