Mainstream Internet connection options

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Shannon Jacobs

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Nov 20, 2015, 12:32:22 AM11/20/15
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First Post! For November! And it's already the 20th of the month. Boy they (AKA the google) really have killed usenet. Sad, especially insofar as I think this used to be the sort of topic that flij was once capable of helping with...

Anyway, since I drafted this query for a different venue, I'll go ahead and repost a version here in the feeble hope someone (among the rare visitors) can add useful information to it:

Here is my summary of the Internet connection options as I currently understand them in November of 2015. This is targeted at central Tokyo (the 23 wards), but most of it may generalize to the primary J:Com areas. My current bias is for the minimal J:Com connection at this time, but your mileage may differ and the situation is constantly changing. Mostly I use lots of data, but not lots of speed, and the research has been precipitated by moving back into Tokyo proper.

My hope had been to stay with WiMAX, which has served all of my communication needs quite well for a couple of years. With a separate minimal phone contract the total bill was less than 5,000 yen/month (and the free smartphone was not minimal). However, that is no longer viable because, quite surprisingly, the WiMAX signal quality in central Tokyo is too low. Yeah, I'd been warned about signal problems with WiMAX, but this is the first time the signal problems have become major, and based on several discussions with WiMAX, they apparently think it is しょうがない and I think it is "Bye bye."

The best option appears to be a basic J:Com Internet package, which includes a WiFi hub for about 3,500 yen/month. I hope this will handle all of my needs and I will focus on learning about and using remote WiFi options (in stations and stores). The J:Com WiFi router may be limited to only 4 connections at a time, which seems quite low to me... There's a phone option, too, but I doubt it's worth it.

There are two J:Com options with TV channels. One seems to be about the same television channels as the broadcasts you can get for free. The other one is much more expensive, but offers many more channels. However, the only channel that I might be interested in is HBO, and that is not included with any J:Com option. Maybe you know ways?

Or perhaps it would be possible to share a neighbor's connection? There are several visible and strong WiFi signals that might be coming from any of my neighbors, or their hub may be invisible for higher security. Perhaps the contracts specify no sharing? Also, I don't like bothering neighbors...

The widely available Flets option actually seems to have a bunch of flavors. At the base, NTT almost always controls the fiber, but it seems that it is possible to essentially sublease the fiber to other companies such as So-net. Though some of these secondary contract arrangements appear to be slightly less expensive, I doubt the savings are worth the extra hassle, especially since NTT will remain in the middle anyway. (Perhaps some of these deals are sweetened with phone options?) Personally, I've had more than enough of NTT and would be willing to play slightly more to avoid that company, while the J:Com option actually appears to be slightly less expensive...

That's sort of the dump of what (I think) I know now, but it gave me several ideas about additional directions for research...
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