Sony, Toyota, Cable in Internet deal

Advanced Internet to use high-speed, broadband connection

TOKYO — Sony is launching a joint venture along with Toyota and a Japanese cable company to prepare for broadband content transmission via cable to home PCs.

The new company, called Advanced Internet Integration, will begin planning operations in April, and expects to offer Internet content later this year. Startup capital of 150 million yen ($1.4 million) will be contributed equally by Sony, Toyota and Tokyu Railways, which owns Tokyu Cable, one of the oldest and largest cable operators in Japan.

Advanced Internet will utilize high-speed, broadband cable TV Internet services in transmitting music and other entertainment content, including videogames.

Of some 20 million Internet users in Japan, a little over 200,000 or 1% are using high-speed Internet access via cable, but the number is growing fast.

Sony is apparently prepared to use the new company as one of the outlets to carry its content, including movies, music and games, while Toyota, which owns both cable TV and telecom subsidiaries, and Tokyu will benefit from expanding their subscriber bases with the new company.

The new company will be headed by Sunobu Horigome, senior corporate executive vice president of Sony.

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