Considering how wired the country is, with the lowest cost/performance ratio for consumers in the world, the lack of availability of public wifi always surprises me; this recent survey from goo Research and reported on by japan.internet.com into wireless LANs shows ignorance of their very existance is still quite high.
Between the 17th and 21st of June 2009 1,079 members of the goo Research monitor panel completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 52.9% of the sample were male, 16.1% in their teens, 18.4% in their twenties, 21.4% in their thirties, 16.3% in their forties, 15.8% in their fifties, and 12.0% aged sixty or older.
In Q3 it’s perhaps surprising to my overseas readers that games machines were the most popular device other than laptops that were used to connect to wifi hotspots, but to residents here, especially anyone who has visited a Pokemon Centre (the third most popular tourist attraction in Japan!) and seen the numbers hanging out with their DSes. In addition, McDonalds have recently announced wifi hotspots in their restaurants for DS owners.
Q1: Do you know about public wireless LAN hotspots? (Sample size=1,079)
Yes 60.8% No 39.2%
This is up 6 percentage points from when a similar survey was carried out last year.
The next question was for the 502 people from those who knew about public wifi and had a laptop computer.
Q2: Have you used a public wireless LAN from your laptop computer? (Sample size=502)
Yes 22.1% No 77.3% Don’t know 0.6%
The next question was for the 656 people who knew about public wifi from Q1.
Q3: Have you used a public wireless LAN from a device other than a laptop computer? (Sample size=656)
Yes 14.8% No 84.8% Don’t know 0.5%
Of those who had, the most popular device used was a portable games machine, with 59 people connecting to a public wifi with one. The number of people connecting with a mobile phone or iPod Touch was not reported, however.