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  • Internet-Over-Cable TV Trials to Use Oracle's NCTV Terminals
  • December 11, 1998 (TOKYO) -- Interactive Cable Communications Inc. and Town Television Narashino, a regional Japan cable television operator, said they will offer an experimental service to access the Internet via a CATV network later this month.
    The service will be available to 200 households in Narashino, Chiba prefecture, near Tokyo. That is Town TV Narashino's service area. Local authorities and other organizations in Narashino will assist in providing content. The user terminal is a network computer (NC) for television called NCTV from Oracle Corp. Japan. This is the first time that NCTV terminals have been used to deliver Internet connections over a CATV network, according to the companies.

    The trial is aimed at homes in the Moto-Okubo area of Narashino, which is fully covered by the CATV network. NCTV terminals will be provided free-of-charge to 200 of the 410 households that belong to the Moto-Okubo community association, giving them free full-time access to the Internet via the CATV network until March 1999.

    The content to be provided by Narashino city includes a booking service for public facilities, Internet versions of public information bulletins and fire safety information.

    Isamu Araki, the mayor of Narashino, said he hopes the trial will create "closer ties between local government and the people." To this end, people will be able to comment on administrative matters through e-mail.

    In addition, ADAMS (TV-Asahi Data and Multimedia Service) data will be provided by TV-Asahi Data Co., Ltd. The ADAMS service is a data broadcasting service carried on terrestrial waves. The company has already deployed its ADAMS-P data broadcasting service for PCs, and it is now testing ADAMS-T for television. It hopes to secure more users through the Narashino trial.

    Another component of the trial is the Virtual Clinic, a health consultation service on the Internet sponsored by the Japanese Medical and Dental Practitioners for the Improvement of Medical Care (Hodanren), or Doctor's Net. The community association, with the help of the manufacturer Bunkakobo Inc., will provide local content, such as news and views about living in the area, and a bulletin board service to promote exchange of information among household members of the association.

    Interactive Cable Communications already offers Internet-over-cable services for PCs in Narashino and elsewhere at a cost of 6,500 yen (US$55) per month, but the price structure for NCTV-based services is undecided.

    Noboru Fujino, president of Interactive Cable Communications, said that prices for the full-fledged service will be set after the trial. "During the trial we'll get a clearer picture of how people actually use the Internet with an easy-to-operate NCTV," he said.

    (BizTech News Dept.)

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    Updated: Thu Dec 10 13:55:54 1998 PDT