British telecommunications giant Cable and Wireless plc. plans to build a 1.4-billion-dollar nationwide fiber-optic network in Japan, creating 1,000 new jobs, the company said Monday.
The company will invest 150 billion yen ($1.39 billion) over the next five years, said Stephen R. Pettit, chairman of Cable and Wireless IDC, the company's Japanese unit.
"This initiative ... will enable Cable and Wireless to deliver new standards of Internet and data services to all customers throughout Japan," Pettit said.
He added the investment was "a further demonstration of Cable and Wireless's consistent and rapid execution of its global strategies — that is to provide advanced Internet and data products and services to business customers in the key markets of Japan, US and Europe."
Internet protocol and data traffic in Japan is forecast to grow by more than 40 percent a year over the next five years and will overtake conventional voice traffic by 2003, according to consultants Bain and Co.
Under Cable and Wireless' plan, the network will link 80 cities in Japan.
The company also plans to build integrated metropolitan networks in Tokyo and Osaka — Japan's largest cities — for optical fiber, digital subscriber lines, wireless communications technologies and other Internet and data services.
"All Japan's major corporate and SME (small and medium-sized enterprises) businesses will be able to access the new services," the company said in a statement.
The recent deregulation of Japan's telecoms industry allows Cable and Wireless to access the copper line network of the former state monopoly Nippon Telephone and Telegraph, Pettit said.
"By installing DSL equipment in NTT's telephone exchanges and customer premises, we can dramatically increase the capacity of NTT's copper line," Pettit said.
"Cable and Wireless is rapidly transforming itself in response to the fast moving telecoms market in Japan."
The company is also to start offering a Japanese domestic long-distance telephone service starting from December, Pettit said.
Cable and Wireless took control of IDC, the Japanese international telephone operator, in June 1999. The company has 800 employees.
The British firm operates in 70 countries and had revenues of $14 billion in the last fiscal year to March 2000, it said.— (AFP)
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)