The number of fiber-optic broadband Internet subscriptions in Japan reached 7 million in the third quarter, according to data released Wednesday. The figures from Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) also show that the fiber-optic service, which is low cost and offered throughout Japan by several competing carriers, continues to drive the expansion in the country’s broadband Internet market.

On the last day of September, 7.2 million of the country’s 25 million broadband subscribers were using fiber-optic connections, said the MIC. The ministry releases nationwide broadband figures once every three months.

A typical fiber service is that offered by fixed-line carrier NTT East Corp., which charges