One nation under Internet Protocol | Perspectives | CNET News.com "Take a trip to Korea or Japan, and you will immediately have a new appreciation for the definition of broadband.
There, it is not uncommon for a consumer's Internet connection to breathe a blazingly fast 10-plus megabits per second. In Japan, Yahoo BB goes a step further, trumpeting a full 45-megabits-per-second offering for a cool $37 per month (about 3,892 yen). Still not amazed? Korea boasts a mind-boggling 80 percent broadband penetration rate, while the United States still ambles around half that. That said, even the states' 42 percent penetration rate is deceptive, as the U.S. version of broadband is a far cry from these Asian fire hoses.
What is most striking about the notion of a 45-megabit Internet Protocol connection is the overwhelming universality of such an incredibly high-speed packet-based conduit. Into it melt all forms of media and communications: voice, data, video and any other application or service you might imagine. There is no need to consider bringing multiple connections or service providers into your home, for this network can do everything you need and more. Early signs in Japan are consistent with this notion. Yahoo BB announced a stunning 80 percent attachment rate on its IP-based phone service. It is now promoting an IP-based set-top box for the ultimate in personalized television.
Believe it or not, Microsoft is the company that may be most underestimated in the all-IP network future. The company has done a magnificent job developing its Windows Media 9 codec and its corresponding digital rights management (DRM) features, and it now appears to be the technology of choice for distributing video over IP. WM9 has a strong presence in both Korea and Japan."