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(Nikkei BP Group)

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  • NTT Sat Com to Launch Speedy Internet Access Service
  • January 22, 1999 (TOKYO) -- NTT Satellite Communications Inc. announced that it will offer a new satellite Internet access service called Mega Wave from Jan. 25.
    The service will allow customers to receive information at data transmission speeds of up to 1Mbps, for a 4,000 yen (US$35) monthly charge.

    The Mega Wave service will appeal to individual users who often download files and video clips containing large volumes of data. When users are sending data upstream, an ordinary Internet service provider (ISP) is used.

    Some cable television (CATV) Internet access services already offer 1Mbps Internet access for less than 10,000 yen (US$88) a month. However, the main drawback is that to be able to utilize these services, users must reside in the service area of one of the CATV companies. With Mega Wave, users can live or work anywhere, as long as they are capable of receiving signals from a communications satellite.

    NTT Satellite's Mega Wave service will be the third such service offering satellite Internet access in Japan, following Direct Internet and Bekkoame Spacenet. Also, it will be less expensive than the 5,500 yen (US$48) monthly fee charged by Direct Internet.

    For customers seeking to watch satellite TV broadcasts, another advantage is that Mega Wave can be used with a CS antenna. A single CS antenna can be shared to receive both Internet data from Mega Wave and satellite TV broadcasts from Sky PerfecTV!

    In order to use the Mega Wave service, customers must have a CS antenna for Sky PerfecTV!, a CS tuner, and a dedicated Mega Wave receiver board. Those who subscribe to Sky PerfecTV! can utilize their existing antenna and tuner.

    The dedicated Mega Wave receiver board will not be put on sale in stores at first, but will only be available by mail order from the service's homepage. Also, it is necessary for users to install a special driver software for the receiver board in their PCs. The driver controls the flow of data traffic, routing upstream data to the ordinary ISP and collecting downstream data via Mega Wave.

    Any ISP can be used for sending data upstream. However, if customers opt for one of the official providers designated by NTT Satellite, they can call the same user support service with questions regarding both Mega Wave and the ISP. In such a case, if they encounter a data transmission problem in either the upstream or downstream directions, NTT Satellite will deal with it.

    NTT Satellite will run a special promotion campaign until the end of February, allowing new users to try the service for free, without paying the usual fee of 4,000 yen a month.

    In August, the billing system is scheduled to be altered again, to offer customers a choice of either paying fixed monthly fees or paying a basic fee with extra surcharges that depend on actual use of the service.

    NTT Satellite is studying ISPs that offer a variety of billing menus tailored to suit customer usage. NTT Satellite also aims to offer its customers a variety of menus.

    Related story: More Businesses in Japan Use Satellites to Tap Internet

    (Nikkei Communications)

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    Updated: Thu Jan 21 14:14:10 1999 PDT