By the turn of the century Japanese households and smaller business will be well positioned to send and receive multimedia services – better positioned than their North American counterparts, reckons Dr Kazuo Murano, group executive vice-president of the Telecommunications Network Systems Group at Fujitsu Ltd. This is because of the decision of the Ministry of […]
By the turn of the century Japanese households and smaller business will be well positioned to send and receive multimedia services – better positioned than their North American counterparts, reckons Dr Kazuo Murano, group executive vice-president of the Telecommunications Network Systems Group at Fujitsu Ltd. This is because of the decision of the Ministry of Posts & Telecommunications in Japan to drive the installation of optical fiber cable by the major domestic carrier Nippon Telegraph & T elephone Corp. By the year 2000, 20% of Japan’s telephone connections are expected to be through optical fiber cable, and by 2010, 100% of cable will be optical fiber. Nippon Telegraph calls its new system Access. Installation of the new cable is facilitated by the fact that Japan’s telephone lines, as well as the electricity, are almost entirely above ground, strung on millions of poles which contribute to the impression of Japanese cities and towns as a town planner’s nightmare. Cable is being installed in two systems: Digital Loop Carrier, in which underground installation of cable ends at an Optical Network Termination Unit which then distributes the signal by copper cable to each house – and the Fiber to the Home system in which optical cable is distributed straight to the home or apartment building.
By Anita Byrnes
This compares with systems in the US, in which the popularity of cable television means that a coaxial cable network which reaches millions of homes is available, and in Europe, where cables are often underground, involving a greater expense in converting to optical fiber. In practical terms however, the killer application to make effective use of the optical fiber is still not obvious, says Dr Murano; neither video on demand or tele-medicine seemed to be a likely candidate. Theoretically, there is no limit to the capacity of optical fiber, but in a practical sense for two-way transmission it has 100 times the bandwidth of co-axial cable, which is more suitable for uni-directional broadcast of a single signal. Another practical limit ation to the spread of the technology in Japan is that the plethora of reinforced concrete office buildings that went up 20 to 30 years ago are very difficult to rewire, since the telephone and electrical wires are generally built into the concrete floor. In the global telecommunications market, Fujitsu has a strong share in optical transmission systems, where it leads with 15.2% of the total, equal to the share of Lucent Technologies Inc. It has a leading 40% share of the US regional Bell operating company market. In the digital telephone exchange market, it is in seventh place overall, with a lower market share of 4.8% worldwide; NEC Corp is third in this market with a share of 12.7% of the 84.5m lines installed overall. However Fujitsu, has a 12% share of the Chinese market. Like many other telecommunications equipment suppliers, Fujitsu sees Asia as an attractive market which at 16.4% annually is growing much faster than the global average of 8.2% a year.