Taiwan for many years lagged the US in the last years of the 1990s for hi-speed access. There were a lot of companies in the US supplying higher speed connections, but most people were still using dial-up in the US market. And, in Taiwan, we were stuck on dialup for a longtime, and it was VERY frustrating. ISDN just didn’t work well… then our local provider introduced ADSL about 4 years ago. What a difference that made?
Now, there are very few people in Taiwan still connecting via dial-up modems, and ADSL speeds (typical, not real world!) are VERY fast by US standards. Our house here utilizes fiber cable to our building that allows us to watch TV-over-IP as well as browse at decent speeds (8MB down: 640KB up). I noted that many people in the US are still accessing via dial-up. That’s quite a surprise. So what happened in the US vs. Taiwan?
Largely, it has to do with the role of government: the government in Taiwan (as in Japan and Korea) made the development of high-speed access a top priority. In addition, good quality access is affordable, reasonably stable and broadly available. Additional services are available on Wi-Fi, and WiMax is rumored to be coming soon.