Japan-US Business Report LogoJapan-U.S. Business Report

No. 344, May 1998

Issue Index

Japanese Companies in the US


TELECOMMUNICATIONS

FUJITSU NETWORK COMMUNICATIONS, INC., the Richardson, Texas fiber- optic transmission and broadband switching platform design and manufacturing unit of FUJITSU, LTD., landed two major contracts recently. In a significant win, it will be the equipment supplier for GTE CORP.'s ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line) service, which will provide Internet connections at transmission speeds ranging from 256 kilobits per second to 1.5 megabits per second over existing copper telephone lines. FNC's SPEEDPORT DSL access multiplexers will be installed in approximately 300 GTE central offices in portions of 16 states. The equipment's core DSL technology was provided by FNC partner ORCKIT COMMUNICATIONS LTD. In customers' homes or offices, GTE will install Orckit-built modems. Starting in June, the company will offer ADSL service in the parts of the five towns where it has been conducting trials: West Lafayette, Indiana, Durham, North Carolina, Beaverton, Oregon, and Redmond and Kirkland, Washington. In the second half of 1998, GTE plans to offer ADSL service in at least 30 additional market clusters.

Moreover, in a contract that could be worth as much as $500 million over its five-year life, FUJITSU NETWORK COMMUNICATIONS, INC. will supply a range of fiber-optic transmission equipment, especially lightwave multiplexers, to BELL ATLANTIC CORP. These products span transmission capacities of 155 Mbps (OC-3) to 10 gigabits per second (OC-192). The latter system will enable Bell Atlantic's local telephone companies to carry more than 129,000 simultaneous telephone calls over a single strand of fiber-optic cable. FNC is the top provider of SONET (synchronous optical network) fiber-optic equipment to the regional Bell operating companies, by one estimate controlling 47 percent of that market in 1997.

In the second such deal, SPACE COMMUNICATIONS CORP. awarded HUGHES SPACE AND COMMUNICATIONS INTERNATIONAL INC. a contract for a communications satellite to be launched in early 2000. Superbird-4 will use a HS 601 HP platform equipped with 23 Ku-band transponders powered by traveling wave tube amplifiers totaling more than 80 watts. It also will have six Ka-band transponders powered by 50-watt TWTAs for broadband and high-speed data services. Two main antennas, one for the Ku band and the other for the Ka band, will be onboard; they will incorporate Hughes' shaped-beam technology. The spacecraft also will use the satellite builder's new ion propulsion system. Superbird-4, which will replace Superbird-B in providing services to Japan and elsewhere in the Asian Pacific, will be launched by ARIANE-SPACE S.A. The first communications satellite that Los Angles-based HUGHES SPACE AND COMMUNICATIONS CO. built for SCC, Superbird-C, was launched last summer.

Meanwhile, the second of a pair of satellites that HUGHES SPACE AND COMMUNICATIONS CO. built for BROADCASTING SATELLITE SYSTEM CORP. has been launched onboard an ARIANESPACE S.A. rocket. BSAT-1b, an in- orbit backup to the year-old BSAT-1a, features four active and four spare high-power Ku-band transponders powered by 106-watt TWTAs. It provides home entertainment broadcasting services to more than 10 million customers.

In another major endorsement of its DVCPRO digital broadcast product line, ABC INC. selected MATSUSHITA ELECTRIC INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD. equipment for its high-definition television facility in New York City. MEI affiliate PANASONIC BROADCAST & TELEVISION SYSTEMS CO. says that the studio will be ready for the November rollout of terrestrial digital television broadcasting. It also will equip key ABC affiliates in time for the advent of digital TV. Of the competing DTV standards, ABC chose the 720 progressive scan format. The value of the contract was not disclosed.

Broadcasters migrating to digital television using MATSUSHITA ELECTRIC INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD. equipment will have available DVCPRO-capable SILICON GRAPHICS, INC. servers. PANASONIC BROADCAST & TELEVISION SYSTEMS CO. will offer systems integration of SGI's Origin servers interfaced to DVCPRO recording, news editing and robotic archive library system products. That will give DVCPRO news and production system customers scalable, end-to-end solutions.

SONY CORP. has made up some ground in the race with MATSUSHITA ELECTRIC INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD. to equip networks and their affiliates for the November launch of terrestrial digital television broadcasting. Among other recent wins, it will supply $14.8 million worth of Betacam SX equipment based on the MPEG (motion picture experts group) standard for digital video compression to TIME WARNER INC.'s Cable News Network for use by its field crews around the world. CNN now uses analog Betacam equipment.

In its first contract for high-definition remote broadcast vehicles, SONY CORP. will build a pair of HDTV-capable broadcast vans for NATIONAL MOBILE TELEVISION. One of the codeveloped trucks will be stationed in Los Angeles to provide the entertainment industry with full-service digital high-definition production. The other will be located in New York City to cover sporting events in the area. Both trucks will begin operations in September. NMT also is adding two Sony-equipped standard-definition TV trucks this fall to its existing fleet of five Sony digital trucks. The new ones will be used for sports coverage.

While acknowledging that entrenched American competition will make it difficult to succeed, HITACHI ELECTRONICS, LTD. hopes to gain experience in the U.S. market for terrestrial digital broadcast transmission equipment that it can use when this type of broadcasting starts in Japan in 2001. Its Woodbury, New York subsidiary has three products available. The Multi-Level Digital FM Microwave Link System consists of a transmitter adapter and a receiver adapter to transmit up to 60 Mbps of compressed HDTV signals using existing microwave links. As its name suggests, the 16/32 Level Quadrature Amplitude Modulated Microwave Link for Digital HDTV Transmission employs quadrature amplitude modulation-enabled modulators and demodulators to transport high-bit- rate HDTV signals over microwave links. The third product is the RM- 2100E/RM-2100D MPEG2 Real-Time Codec, which combines an encoder and a decoder for 4:2:2 digital video compression.

The 1100 series of HDTV and SDTV encoders and decoders as well as HDTV multiplexers and demultiplexers from MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC CORP. is being marketed exclusively in the United States by TEKTRONIX, INC. under the Tektronix-Grass Valley-Mitsubishi brand name. The second-generation products are claimed to be the first for coding signals according to the Advanced Television Systems Committee DTV standard adopted by the Federal Communications Commission. MELCO's 1100 line includes a variety of input/output options, 4:2:2 or 4:2:0 operation and the ability to compress 1920 x 1080 images to well below 19 Mbps while maintaining excellent picture quality.

Codevelopers MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC CORP. and IGS TECHNOLOGIES, INC. have announced what they say is the first truly flexible set-top box platform. Instead of a standard group of functions, the product comes with two core applications: electronic mail and World Wide Web browsing. OEMs then have the option of adding other features, including video phone, Web- casting and picture in a picture. The $1,000 platform combines MELCO's M32R/D processor — a 32-bit RISC chip with 2 megabytes of embedded DRAM (dynamic random access memory) and a 128-bit internal bus — and the Santa Clara, California company's CyberPro2010 single-chip encoder/accelerator, which incorporates flicker-free technology in its TVDirect interface. The integrated memory features of the M32R/D processor and the direct interface to the CyberPro2010 result in a product measuring just 5 inches by 7 inches.

Beginning in June, PACIFIC TELECOM CO., LTD. will wholesale publicly switched telephone capacity to 16 foreign carriers, including SPRINT COMMUNICATIONS CORP. and WORLDCOM INC., at a cost lower than if privately owned cables were used. The key is the application of time- division multiplexing to the switching system, which compresses the audio signal without compromising the voice quality. Tokyo-based PTC is the first Type II firm or company that does not own transmission circuits to enter the resale business. It projects revenues of $39 million over five years.

Competition from the Internet as well as from firms offering similar services has forced INTEC INC. to close its wholly owned international fax subsidiary in New York City. The company was set up in the fall of 1987.

An exchange rate of ¥132=$1.00 was used in this report.
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