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Japanese Telecoms Join Against NTT

July 18, 2002

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TOKYO (AP) _ Three Japanese telecommunications companies, backed by major utilities, are considering joining forces to compete in broadband services against Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp.

The three companies include Internet Initiative Japan, a major Japanese Internet provider; Tokyo Telecommunication Network, which is affiliated with Tokyo Electric Power Co.; and Powered Com, a data communications firm set up by a group of 10 power companies, the national Asahi newspaper said.

Junko Hirase, a spokeswoman for Internet Initiative Japan, said negotiations ``have just begun″ toward a business alliance, and said nothing has been decided. Natsuki Ishihara of Tokyo Telecommunication Network, known as TTNet, also confirmed talks are under way, but refused to discuss other details.

Japan’s data communication market is dominated by NTT.

Under the expected accord, fiber-optic networks will be used to provide high-speed broadband services, including Internet access, e-mail and data analysis, the Asahi newspaper said.

Internet Initiative Japan, set up 1992 as one of first Internet providers in Japan, has 6,000 clients both in Japan and the United States. Powered Com has about 200,000 kilometers (124,000 miles) of fiber-optic cable across Japan, almost matching that of NTT, but lacks sufficient ``know-how″ to use it, the report said.

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