Japan cabler ups subs, sets digital agenda

TOKYO — Japan’s leading cable operator, Jupiter Telecommunications, whose main shareholders include Liberty Media and Microsoft, increased its customer base by 86% last year to 865,700 subscribers.

The bulk of the increase came in September, when Jupiter acquired Titus Communications, with 275,000 subs brought on board under the new grouping.

For the year, broadband subscribers increased 1,000% to tally 141,500.

In the coming year, Jupiter said that it wants to increase its role as a digital provider through broadband, Internet and interactive services.

Cable key to broadband

“The growth of Jupiter shows that people have begun supporting the services through our cable network, which we believe will be the most important infrastructure feature for rendering broadband services,” CEO Tsunetoshi Ishibashi said.

The Japanese broadband market is expected to see a number of new ventures launched this year, including a new service from network TV Tokyo and the launch of Pacific Century CyberWorks Japan.

In Japan’s highly fragmented cable TV market, only a few players have enough capital, advanced networks and large enough service areas to be players in broadband.

Jupiter is one of the few cable operators that can challenge in the broadband market.

The main shareholders in Jupiter are trading house Sumitomo with a 35% share, Liberty Media Corp. with 35% and Microsoft 24%.

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