Continental Cable In Co-Venture To Build Web In Japan

Furthering its strategy to become a major force in the Pacific Rim, U.S. cabler Continental Cable vision unveiled March 15 a co-venture to build a cable network in Japan.

CT Telecom, an alliance with Tomen Corp., one of Japan’s largest trading companies, aims to provide cable TV, telephone, multimedia and interactive services to at least 1 million homes.

Work would begin within 12-18 months, said Martin Hannes, executive director of Continental Cablevision Australia. He declined to reveal the expected capitalization of CT Telecom, but noted that it’s intended to bring aboard other Japanese investors.

Hannes said programming plans had not yet been worked out, and he suggested there would be strong Japanese content. Continental Cablevision, which has 3.1 million subscribers in the U.S. (soon to rise to 4 million), has stakes in Australia’s Optus Vision, Singapore Cablevision and Argentina’s VCC.

Tomen has interests in four existing cable systems in Japan including Yokohama CATV, where near video-on-demand, telephone, fax and personal computer services are being tested in 300 homes. It has not yet been decided whether those interests will be folded into CT Telecom, Hannes said.

Only 1.6 million of Japan’s 44 million homes are wired, but the government recently said it wants to see the rapid development of cable.

Continental Cablevision is looking to have a “significant presence” in Asia Pacific, working with local partners to provide video and telephony, Hannes added.

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