The telecommunications business tends to gravitate toward a natural monopoly as an infrastructure industry, and also has a strong public nature. As such, the MIC is promoting a variety of initiatives to ensure the sound development of telecommunications and to ensure convenience for the public.
As part of this, the MIC consulted the Information and Communications Council about the Modalities for Telecommunications Infrastructure Policy for the 2020s: Further Disseminating and Deploying the World's Top-level Telecommunications Infrastructure based on the Japan Revitalization Strategy (approved by the Cabinet in June 2013). This council is moving forward with examining matters like measures to further promote competition, modalities for universal services, and enhancing consumer protection rules. It aims to revitalize the economy and improve the people's lives by achieving an environment that is conducive to business by being the most affordable and fastest network in the world, ensuring opportunities to use ICT services, and achieving an environment in which ICT services can be used safely and securely. Together with this, it is also providing financial support for infrastructural improvements for regions where ultra-high speed broadband has yet to be installed, and is promoting a variety of initiatives geared towards resolving problems in these regions in a comprehensive manner.
Telecommunications plays an important role in that it is capable of being used for emergency calls and confirming the safety of families and the like during emergencies.
The MIC is promoting initiatives designed to boost the safety and reliability of telecommunications networks so that telecommunications services can be used during emergencies the same as when everything is normal. For example, in light of the conditions that arose during the Great East Japan Earthquake in which there was widespread and protracted congestion on communication lines and communication blackouts arose, the MIC has revised technical standards in order to boost the resilience of telecommunications equipment against disasters, such as by strengthening countermeasures against blackouts.
Moreover, the composition of the equipment for today's telecommunications network has grown in complexity through the provision of a wide variety of services, while the communication volume has surged.
Given such circumstances, accidents with telecommunications services frequently arise, and tend to be increasing in scale and duration. The MIC has been holding the Study Meeting on Ideal Prevention of Diversified and Complicated Telecommunications Accidents since April 2013, which has been working on setting in place a system for preventing accidents based on a report that it compiled in October of that year.
The MIC promotes a variety of initiatives in the aim of providing an environment in which the Internet, an essential for everyday life due to the progression of broadband, can be used more safely and securely.
Consequently, the MIC is taking measures against the illegal and harmful information on the Internet, such as child pornography and information that infringes on people's rights, which include supporting the voluntary deletion/reporting of such information by private businesses. Initiatives are also being advanced to promote appropriate law enforcement, technical measures, and international cooperation against senders in order to counter the unilateral sending of advertising mails ("spam emails") without the consent of the recipient.
The MIC also undertakes initiatives through public-private partnerships in order to set in place an environment in which people can use new telecommunications services, such as those for smartphones, safely and securely. For example, it is sorting out issues regarding modalities for how user information should be handled within smartphone applications, and for the fair provision of telecommunications services. It is also moving ahead with efforts like holding educational courses aimed at young people, parents, and teachers in particular in order to boost the internet literacy of users. In addition, the MIC operates a telecommunications consumer advice center in order to help users of telecommunications services. The center is offering consultations regarding troubles and issues that may arise when users use such telecommunications services.
Radio waves are used in various fields, from familiar things such as mobile phones and television to the radio communications of public services such as the police, the fire department, ambulances, aviation, shipping, and disaster prevention. They are also used in fields such as logistics management, food safety, transportation, home networks, and robotics, and have become an essential component in the construction of the social infrastructure.
The MIC is promoting research and development of new radio systems including 3.9th generation mobile communications (LTE) and 4th generation mobile communications (LTE-Advanced) systems which realize more advanced mobile services, intelligent transport systems (ITS) that support safe driving and broadband systems for public services which enable video communications with high-mobility in case of a disaster, the adoption of a new satellite communication system that will play a part in ensuring means of communication during disasters, and wireless broadband in a house that enables wireless connections among all information appliance in a house.
The MIC expects to resolve regional vitalization and other issues through effectively using radio waves as a method of information transmission for the local community. Accordingly, the MIC is facilitating the new and effective utilization of radio waves, such as the application of whitespace, which represents newly available radio waves in a specific region, in order to realize the effective utilization of radio waves in connection with an increase in convenience for citizens.
With regards to strengthening international competitiveness of the wireless sector, the MIC is proactively and the implementation of international standards for the specific radio wave utilization systems in which Japan is a leader and is aiming for market expansion in foreign countries in collaboration with the business community. Specifically, the MIC is promoting technologies for various systems in foreign countries. Through this, in 2012 it worked to strengthen the international competitiveness of domestic industries related to the recently internationally standardized LTE-Advanced and others, for which usage is expected to advance internationally.
To ensure that radio waves such as for radio communications related to air and marine radio communications, fire defense radio communications, mobile communications , and other important radio communications can be used unimpeded, the MIC eliminates the sources of such disruptions and is cracking down on illegal radio stations. The MIC has also built database systems for radio stations, and notifies people and raises awareness of rules for enabling people to use radio waves with peace of mind.
In addition, the MIC is working to provide an environment in which anyone can safely use radio waves with peace of mind, through the scientific analysis of the effect radio waves have on the human body and the enactment of "radio wave protection guidelines" that provide guiding principles for the protection of people involved with radio waves, as well as regulations related to the radio waves escaping from various electronic appliances.
This is one standard for next generation mobile communications that achieve communication speeds exceeding the LTE (3.9th generation mobile communications systems), which are currently widespread.
By adding carrier aggregation technology, which achieves high speed communication by bundling multiple communication signals based on LTE, it achieves max speeds that are on par with those of optical fiber (1Gbps). The MIC plans to allocate new frequencies to this standard sometime in 2014 in order to achieve the rapid practical implementation of the world's most advanced 4th generation mobile communications systems.