Basically it's an article about the quality of the broadband network, not penetration etc.
It is based on a 42-nation study carried out by a team of MBA students from the Said Business School at the University of Oxford and the University of Oviedo's Department of Applied Economics and sponsored by Cisco Systems.
They (researchers) said Japan's early commitment to investing in broadband made it the only country prepared to deliver the necessary quality for next-generation web applications over the next three to five years.
This is the actual ranking:
There is another article from last year's worldwide broadband speedtests:
Japan has an average speed of 93Mbps according to the OECD, but this falls to 10.6Mbps according to speedtest.net, which could be indicative of the fact that fibre is concentrated in the towns and cities.
Cable broadband is quite strong in Japan but the biggest market is in fibre to the home.
This has proved so popular with consumers that DSL is actually in decline. Companies are so advanced with fibre delivery that they are beginning to find DSL surplus to requirements.
The speeds fibre provides means applications such as sharing video files are standard.
Fibre also dramatically improves upload speeds, making it much more suitable for web 2.0 communication, with individuals contributing back to the internet with pictures and videos.
Okay, quality is quality. What about the penetration? You may ask.
So here we go- BROADBAND INTERNET STATISTICS TOP WORLD COUNTRIES WITH HIGHEST INTERNET BROADBAND SUBSCRIBERS IN 2007, data by OECD
Here you see Japan in the 3rd place with 27,152,349 subscriberes as of June 2007. (their data is a bit old)
On 2008/9/17, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications reported [ja] Japanese subscription of broadband services are 29,341,909. You can see some more detailed numbers of each service (FTTH, DSL,CATV, FWA).
and BROADBAND INTERNET STATISTICS TOP WORLD COUNTRIES WITH HIGHEST BROADBAND PENETRATION RATE IN 2007
Japan is not even in top20 here.
#1 is Bermuda, they only have a population of 64,574, of which 23,600 are broadband subscribers which leads them to have 36.5 % penetration rate.
This is really contrary to China, which was ranked 2nd in the subscription ranking but not in the top 20, they have 48,500,000 subscribers, but have a population of 1,317,431,495 which makes their penetration as low as 3.7 %.
It looks like this report brought a lot of debate, this article being one of them. OECD Broadband Report Questioned - US Broadband Penetration Grows to 81.8% Among Active Internet Users - May 2007 Bandwidth Report
The post mentions that The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) suggests that adding speed and price to the equation would show a more complete picture of a nation's broadband rankings.
So, this is the report using ITIF suggestoin creating overall broadband score based on penetration (subscribers per household), speed (average speed) and price (price per month for 1 mbps, fastest technology).
According to this ranking, Korea is #1 with 15.73points, Japan is #2 with 14.99points.