Softbank has spent close to $2 billion building out a gigabit Ethernet network and leasing copper wire from Japanese telecom giant Nippon Telegraph and Telephone. The result is a service, offered under the Yahoo! BB brand, that provides Internet access to Japanese homes at 12 megabits per second - eight times faster than what Americans are used to - for about $21 a month. Every day, as many as 7,000 new subscribers fire up their plug-and-play DSL modems, making Yahoo! BB the world's fastest-growing broadband service.Along with their 12Mbps connections, subscribers get free voice-over-IP calls to other network nodes, access to a video-on-demand system, and cheap long distance calling that costs as little as $0.03 per minute from Tokyo to New York. Anyone want to move to Japan?
Of course, Softbank is currently buried under $3.9 billion of debt. Massive Gigabit Ethernet networks aren't cheap to build, even with Japan's high population density, which makes it extremely unlikely we'll see a comparable service offered in North America any time soon.