The Japanese government is considering plans which would force former monopoly fixed line operator Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp (NTT) to provide rivals with access to its new high speed internet network and related infrastructure. According to Bloomberg citing Yasu Taniwaki, a director at the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication, a parliament-appointed advisory panel will release further details of the proposal to foster competition on 14 July.
NTT intends to launch its new high speed network as early as the second half of the business year ending March 2008, and by 2010 it aims to have linked 30 million subscribers to its advanced fibre-optic network which allows faster data transmission than on copper cables. However, the telco has been threatened with its possible break-up by a government looking to foster competition. The state is said to be keen to formalise a timetable for reviewing policies on the former monopoly, but last month agreed to postpone discussions on breaking up the firm until 2010 at the earliest. An advisory panel to Japan’s Home Affairs Ministry recommended that NTT be disbanded in 2010/11 in order to stimulate competition. In its final report to home affairs minister Heizo Takenaka, the group proposed that the former monopoly, which provides fixed, mobile and data services, should be fully dissolved. The panel also suggested that once broken up, the country’s regulatory regime should be relaxed so as to improve competition and drive down prices for consumers.