Broadband service here is eight to 30 times as fast as in the United States -- and considerably cheaper. Japan has the world's fastest Internet connections, delivering more data at a lower cost than anywhere else, recent studies show.
Accelerating broadband speed in this country -- as well as in South Korea and much of Europe -- is pushing open doors to Internet innovation that are likely to remain closed for years to come in much of the United States.
The speed advantage allows the Japanese to watch broadcast-quality, full-screen television over the Internet, an experience that mocks the grainy, wallet-size images Americans endure.
How are things on our end?
Chicago`s stalled talks to create a citywide wireless Internet network come as municipal broadband wireless projects nationwide face troubles.
Other cities -- San Francisco, Philadelphia and Houston among them -- also had visions of free, advertiser-supported high-speed Internet connections citywide. But politics, as well as technological advancements, have come into play.