Another Japan-U.S. consortium plans to lay an undersea fiber-optic cable across the Pacific to handle the demand for capacity caused by surging Internet traffic and other communications services. Spearheaded by JAPAN TELECOM CO., LTD., the initial members of the group are: WORLDCOM INC., its pending partner, MCI COMMUNICATIONS CORP., GTE CORP., BELL ATLANTIC CORP. and Britain's CABLE & WIRELESS PLC. They expect to sign up additional investors, including possibly NIPPON TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE CORP., to help finance the project's estimated $775 million- plus cost. Like the privately owned transpacific cable network that was announced recently (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 342, March 1998, p. 7), the proposed system would have a throughput of 80 gigabits per second, the equivalent of 960,000 simultaneous phone calls. Operations are tentatively set for around the year 2000.
The Federal Communications Commission has licensed KDD AMERICA, INC. to provide facilities-based communications services between the United States and Japan subject to the proviso that it cut its interconnection rate to 15 cents per minute. The KOKUSAI DENSHIN DENWA CO., LTD. subsidiary previously had won the right to provide leased or resale services across the Pacific as well as any type of service from the United States to third countries.
The Hitachi Internetworking unit of HITACHI COMPUTER PRODUCTS (AMERICA), INC. has previewed a pair of entry-level ATM (asynchronous transfer mode) backbone switches that complement the high-end AN (advanced node) 1000 Enterprise ATM switch introduced a year ago (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 332, May 1997, p. 7). The AN1000-3 and the AN1000-5 support 2.5 gigabit-per-second and 5-gigabit-per-second bandwidth, respectively, in fully redundant architectures. The first one scales to 16 Optical Carrier-Level 3 ports, while the other model can accommodate double that number of OC-3 ports. The base model of the AN1000-3, available in late June, will cost $10,000 or $1,800 per port for a fully configured system. The AN1000-5, which already is on the market, starts at $17,000. A 32 OC-3 port switch is priced at $1,500 per port.
With the era of digital television broadcasting arriving at the end of 1998, PANASONIC BROADCAST & DIGITAL SYSTEMS CO. is unveiling a raft of products designed to ensure that MATSUSHITA ELECTRIC INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD. is the dominant supplier of high-definition television broadcast studio and field equipment. Among other products, the company has introduced second-generation extensions of its top-selling DVCPRO family. The DVCPRO50 product line features 4:2:2 signal processing as well as 50-megabit-per-second switching versus the original 4:1:1 signal/25-megabit-per-second switching. The first DVCPRO50 products to ship are the AJ-D950 studio editing video tape recorder and the AJ-D900W camcorder.
An exchange rate of ¥129=$1.00 was used in this report.