Korea to build 100Mbps Internet system
South Korea plans to build a national Internet access infrastructure capable of reaching speeds of 100Mbps by 2010, the online edition of the Chosun Ilbo daily newspaper has reported. The infrastructure will be known as the broadband convergence network (BcN) and will offer telecommunications, broadcasting and Internet access from a wide variety of devices, the paper said, quoting the Ministry of Information and Communication. Construction of the BcN will be worth $US80.4 billion in output of equipment and services, and will create 370,000 jobs by 2010, according to the Chosun Ilbo. South Korea is already regarded as the world’s leading broadband nation, with 11.3 million broadband subscribers in a population of 48 million, and with 85 per cent of new subscribers opting for broadband, according to telecommunication equipment vendor Alcatel.
Hitachi, Casio to merge mobile operations
Hitachi and Casio are planning to merge large parts of their respective mobile phone operations into a new joint venture. The new company — which has yet to be named but will be established in April 2004 — will handle design and development of new handsets and procurement of parts. Production of the handsets will be consigned to two group companies, Yamagata Casio and Tokai Tec. Ownership of the company will be 51 per cent to Casio and 49 per cent to Hitachi. It is expected to employ around 350 people. The decision to merge operations comes at a time when sales of new handsets in the Japan market are expanding but development costs and times are increasing because of greater complexity.