Japan-US Business Report Logo

No. 357, June 1999

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Japanese Companies in the US


TELECOMMUNICATIONS

To protect its turf in the public and private communications network business as bandwidth- intensive applications strain the capacities of nationwide carriers and Internet services providers, NEC AMERICA, INC.'s Herndon, Virginia Public Networks Group disclosed that it is developing a complete family of what it calls super routers. The first of these products, the IX7000 core router, is expected to be available in late 1999. NEC promises that this product will offer superior levels of packet-forwarding capabilities, support for various line interfaces and an effective migration path from North American carriers' existing ATM (asynchronous transfer mode) and SONET (synchronous optical network) networks.

In preparation for launching transpacific services, TOKYO TELECOMMUNICATIONS NETWORK CO., INC. is in the process of forming a subsidiary in Los Angeles and applying to the Federal Communications Commission for an operating license. It also has acquired at a cost of about $6 million capacity on the Japan-U.S. Cable Network. This 13,000-mile, high-capacity, undersea fiber-optic network is scheduled to be operational in the second quarter of 2000 (see Japan- U.S. Business Report No. 348, September 1998, p. 7). TTNet initially will have 310 megabits of transmission capacity, but it already is talking about buying more.

A three-year agreement with INTERMEDIA COMMUNICATIONS INC. will enable NTT AMERICA, INC. to offer its customers nationwide, end-to-end frame-relay services. The Tampa, Florida company is the fourth-largest U.S. frame-relay provider. The arrangement also gives ntta.com the option of adding other Intermedia services.

For its part, KDD AMERICA, INC. tapped ABOVENET COMMUNICATIONS, INC. to provide Internet connectivity, colocation and 24x7 facility management. This support will allow KDD to offer a variety of communications services to companies in the United States interested in conducting business in Japan and elsewhere in Asia. The San Jose, California company won the long-term contract on the strength of its secure colocation facility and its peering relationships with more than 250 domestic and international ISPs.

MARUBENI CORP. joined 10 other big-name investors in putting together $50 million in financing for NETWORK COMPUTER, INC., the developer of a standards-based software platform that enables the delivery of Internet-enhanced content and applications to TV set-top boxes, game consoles, smart phones and handheld computers. NEC CORP., NINTENDO CO., LTD., SEGA ENTERPRISES, LTD. and SONY CORP. are among the earlier backers of NCI. At the end of last year, the Redwood Shores, California company licensed its software to ISP DREAM TRAIN INTERNET CORP., a MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC CORP. subsidiary, and to Marubeni's INTERACTIVE CABLE AND COMMUNICATIONS CORP. With the completion of the new round of fund-raising, NCI changed its name to LIBERATE TECHNOLOGIES.

IKEGAMI TSUSHINKI CO., LTD., Japan's leading producer of television studio cameras, has won its first foreign order for two high-definition TV digital cameras that it released late last year. The buyer is HUDSON RIVER STUDIOS, a New York City programming production house. By this fall, it will have 28 of Ikegami's HDK-790D and HDK-79D cameras, both of which feature a high-resolution 2.2-million-pixel CCD (charge-coupled device). Another of their selling points is the ability to handle a number of the HDTV broadcasting formats in use in the United States.

An exchange rate of ¥122=$1.00 was used in this report.aaaaaa

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