Japanese telecom to upgrade by next fall

TOKYO — Japan’s leading cable TV company Jupiter Telecommunications is planning to upgrade its broadcast facilities and lines for digital transmission capability by fall 2000, a Japanese business daily reported Tuesday.

The move is expected to allow Jupiter, a joint venture between Japanese trading house Sumitomo and U.S.-based TCI, to offer Internet and other interactive services for its customers and should cost the CATV operator about 20 billion yen ($189 million), the Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported, citing company sources.

Jupiter Telecommunications had no comment on the article.

Upgrading lines

The company had 485,000 subscribers at the end of September and transmission capacity to handle 3.5 million more. Jupiter is planning to replace old lines with those that will allow digital transmission as well as access to the Internet and other telecom services, the paper said.

Jupiter will fund the digital upgrade by boosting its capital next summer by $94.4 million to $470.1 million, it said. It will also borrow money for the project.

The first broadcasts of the new digital service will coincide with the start of next year’s Sydney Olympics, it reported.

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