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 Thursday, July 21, 2005

Article featured in Total Telecom talks about Japan's intentions to work towards developing an NGN standard.

"The Japanese government is to urge private telecom carriers to upgrade domestic telecoms networks to next-generation IP-based telecommunications networks (NGN) by 2007.

According to the Nihon Keizai Shimbun newspaper, the policy has been decided in order to try and push Japanese NGN standards in the hope of getting a big slice of the international equipment market for Japanese equipment manufacturers.

The International Telecommunication Union is expected to decide on the global specifications for NGNs by around 2008. The Japanese Ministry of Communications aims to have developed and proposed a standard to the ITU by then after working with the country's major telcos, including Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. (NTT), KDDI Corp. and SoftBank, as well as manufacturers of communications equipment including NEC Corp., Fujitsu Ltd., and Hitachi Ltd."

"The ministry hopes Japan will seize the initiative by being the first to come up with a tried and tested set of standards that might be accepted for international adoption, thus giving local manufacturers a huge leg up on international markets. While Japanese manufacturers have dominated their domestic market for telecommunications equipment through working with NTT, U.S. firms control 90% of the global market for routers. The Japanese firms are hoping the switch to a new set of standards for NGNs will help them overcome this imbalance.

The adoption of NGNs is expected to substantially lower communications costs because they will require only half the plant and equipment investment and maintenance expense required for current phone systems, according to the report, which says the networks will use a new breed of low-cost routers. Replacing Japan's current domestic phone networks will require an investment of an estimated 3 trillion to 6 trillion yen (22 billion to 44 billion euros) in plant and equipment over a five-year period. KDDI has been proposing replacement of its copper network by 2007 and NTT by 2010, but the Ministry hopes to speed this up to fit in with the ITU's schedule."