Sony, Toyota, Tokyu Tie on Broadband Service

TOKYO (03/10/2000) - Sony Corp., Toyota Motor Corp. and Tokyu Corp. yesterday announced they have agreed to form a joint venture to investigate and plan broadband multimedia services.

The deal brings together the consumer electronics and audio and video content of Sony with Toyota's telecommunications expertise, which it has gained through stakes in several telecommunications companies, and the Tokyo-area cable television networks of Tokyu Corp.

In a statement, the companies said the low penetration of broadband Internet services in Japan was leading to a lack of content because many providers were more interested in serving the much larger narrowband user base.

The new company will focus on broadband users in designing its services and also study network topology to discover the optimal locations for servers and data centers to ensure users get a speedy response from the service. In this way the company hopes to be able to offer cable TV operators not just services but also the know-how needed to roll out such broadband networks.

The three, each of which will have an equal stake in the company, are aiming to establish it in April with capital of 150 million yen (US$1.4 million).

Operations and a trial service are scheduled to begin in October, with a full service available from January 2001.

Sony, in Tokyo, can be found at http://www.sony.co.jp. Toyota Motor Co., also in Tokyo, is at http://www.toyota.co.jp. Tokyu is also based in Tokyo and can be reached online at http://www.tokyu.co.jp.

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