So-net, a Sony-owned Internet service provider, is busy rolling out 2 Gbps fiber-based Internet to Japan's Tokyo-area residents. Named "Nuro", the company's blazingly fast service is double the speed of Google Fiber and claims to be the fastest in the world. Just as impressive though is its price: about $50 per month. American fiber-optic offerings like Google Fiber and Verizon FiOS (150/65 Mbps) run $70 and $129 per month, respectively.
While Nuro's monthly cost and incredible speed are both undeniably attractive, there are a couple of caveats: a roughly $540 installation fee and a two-year contract. This fee is presumably to extend fiber connectivity to dwellings not yet on the grid, but that's a cost which Google has been absorbing for its gigabit subscribers. Also, Google only asks for a one-year contract.
Tokyo is possibly one of the most suitable places for fiber connectivity -- a high-tech, impressively dense urban landscape. In fact, Japan is currently second in the world when it comes to existing households boasting fiber connectivity. Nearly a quarter of all households in the country are already connected to fiber.
Nuro leverages Japan's sprawling Gigabit-capable Passive Optical Network (GPON) -- a distribution of fiber connectivity reportedly capable of downstream speeds topping 2.488 Gbps.
Last week Google and AT&T announced plans to outfit Austin, Texas with fiber-based Internet service; however, those networks will "only" be 1 Gbps. When it comes to broadband speed, the U.S. continues to lag behind a number of smaller countries, earning a 12th place spot.