September 10, 2001,
Promotion Measures for Nationwide Construction of High/Ultrahigh-speed
|MPHPT has been holding the "Panel on Construction of
Info-communications Network in the 21st Century" (Chair: Mr. Yutaka Kosai,
Chairman, Japan Center for Economic Research) since April 2000. The panel
compiled i) on June 30, 2000, the first interim report on an image of info-communications
networks in the 21st century, the way related for implementation thereof
and necessary policy measures, and ii) on December 25, 2000, the second
interim report on the five-year target schedule from CY2001 to CY2005 for
constructing ultrahigh-speed networks, based upon objectives for forming
ultrahigh-speed networks stipulated under the "IT Basic Strategy" and the
"Basic Law on the Formation of an Advanced Information and Telecommunications
Network Society (IT Basic Law)."
After the second interim report, the government has been
promoting further measures toward realization of the IT revolution through
adoption of the e-Japan Strategy, the e-Japan Priority Policy Program and
the e-Japan 2002 Program, etc. In line with the government efforts, the
panel, on August 3, 2001, compiled its findings as the final report after
a series of deliberations on various topics. Based upon the final report,
MPHPT will implement measures for countrywide penetration of high/ultrahigh-speed
1. Measures for countrywide penetration of high/ultrahigh-speed
Along with subscriber access networks become faster and
large capacity, trunk networks are thought to become faster and of a larger
capacity. Thus, investments into wavelength division multiplexers (WDMs),
etc. and R&D on photonic networks shall be promoted. High/ultrahigh-speed
network penetration in areas with worse conditions shall be promoted, in
parallel, measures for facilitating effective use of ducts, dark fibers,
etc. by carriers shall be studied.
Furthermore, there is a need to solve emerging problems
concerning introduction of high/ultrahigh-speed Internet into collective
housings, etc. in urban areas. The central and local governments shall
make collaborative efforts to construct the e-government and develop public
applications/content through effective use of high/ultrahigh-speed networks
connecting public facilities.
As shown above, although there are various problems in
promoting countrywide penetration of high/ultrahigh-speed networks, this
final report focuses on preparation of infrastructures for high/ultrahigh-speed
networks and issues concerning terms and conditions for providing services,
and proposes desirable policy measures for closing the following two digital
divides based upon analysis on the current status and problems thereof.
i) Promotion of ultrahigh-speed network penetration
into collective housings, etc.
- Closing the digital divide caused by a residential
ii) Promotion of ultrahigh-speed network infrastructure
construction in areas with worse conditions
- Closing the digital divide caused by a geographical
2. Promotion of ultrahigh-speed network penetration
into collective housings, etc.
The "e-Japan Strategy" sets goals to make Japan the world's
most advanced IT nation within five years. To achieve the goals, vital
measures are to introduce the high/ultrahigh-speed Internet into households
living in collective housings, which occupy a 37.7% share in all households.
Because the ratio of households living in collective housings is higher
in urban areas, solutions of collective housing problems have greater significance
in promoting urban renewal.
In order to introduce the high/ultrahigh-speed Internet
into condominiums, installation spaces for DSLAMs, etc. are necessary.
In cases of equipment installation work, new repair/improvement work or
piping/wiring work at common areas and facilities, based on provisions
of the Condominium Law, there is a need to receive three-fourth majority
or more of unit owners or voting rights, in reality, extremely difficult.
Through revisions of regulatory frameworks and support
measures for the private sector, the government shall promote widespread
use of the high/ultrahigh-speed Internet in collective housings. To this
end, promotion measures are needed, such as "facilitation of installation
work/use of common areas and facilities through flexible application of
systems concerning the Condominium Law," "creation of an approval system
for condominiums, etc. compatible with the high/ultrahigh-speed Internet,
3. Promotion of ultrahigh-speed network infrastructure
construction in areas with worse conditions
The key infrastructure of ultrahigh-speed networks is
fiber-optic networks. Accordingly, fiber-optic networks possessed and maintained
by operating bodies other than telecommunications carriers, namely, power
utilities, railway companies, local governments, etc., shall be positively
utilized as part of the ultrahigh-speed Internet, after due consideration
to problems to be solved. To achieve the goals to make Japan the world's
most advanced IT nation within five years, a countrywide environment shall
be prepared, where users have access to the ultrahigh-speed Internet whenever
they want. By overcoming geographical constraints, to enable all people
to enjoy the benefits of IT is an indispensable factor to develop unique
local communities. In light of the IT Basic Law, it is a must to positively
narrow the digital divide caused by geographical constraints.
According to a research by Nomura Research Institute,
Ltd., in CY2005 the ratio of line concentration points with economical
rationality for constructing fiber-optic networks is up to 80.8% but, in
particular, in rural areas the ratio decreases to less than 40%. Taking
a look at service deployment plans of private businesses, at present, there
will be no foreseeable areas with fiber-optic network construction plans
in CY2005. As regards the goals of the "e-Japan Strategy" to make Japan
the world's most advanced IT nation within five years, in order to bridge
the digital divide, there is a need to construct fiber-optic networks in
not only urban areas but also areas with worse conditions.
A result of questionnaires sent to local governments
shows that i) although there is a problem concerning budgetary backgrounds,
many local governments intend to invest public budgets into infrastructures,
ii) regarding areas with worse conditions where private businesses hesitate
to construct infrastructures, it is desirable that fiber-optic network
infrastructures would be constructed by public investment. If fiber-optic
network infrastructures are prepared, it is expected that advanced public
services will lead to big reductions in administrative costs among others.
The fiber-optic network construction by public investment
is to be regarded as supplementary measures to the principle of private
initiatives. There would be two ways for constructing fiber-optic networks,
namely, i) those projects shall be undertaken by local governments who
are main beneficiaries and ii) taking into consideration the state goals
to make Japan the most advanced IT nation within five years, upon implementation
of those projects the central government shall play a leading role. After
completion of the fiber-optic network construction by public investment,
facing realities, operation and maintenance of those networks, and provision
of services for general users over those networks shall be undertaken by
private telecommunications carriers and/or the third sectors.
As for target areas of the public investment, it is necessary
to pay due consideration to the following factors: i) there are not enough
fiber-optic networks, ii) private businesses will not positively construct
fiber-optic networks until CY2005, etc. It shall be ensured that those
fiber-optic networks constructed by public investment shall be opened to
all telecommunications carriers on a non-discriminatory basis.
As regards operating bodies of those networks, many choices
are possible, such as "state-run business," "businesses owned by local
governments and subsidized by the central government," "private businesses
directly subsidized by the central government," etc. Whatever they are,
due consideration shall be paid to reduce financial burden of the central
and local governments, and to encourage private initiatives to the fullest.
For example, studies shall be carried out on utilization of local public
networks and public finance initiatives (PFIs), and sale of those networks
to private businesses after a given period, etc.
4. Promotion measures for countrywide construction
of high/ultrahigh-speed Internet
It is necessary to promote policy measures by CY2005 as
a target year, in a well-planned manner based on the "ultrahigh-speed network
implementation annual target" proposed in the second interim report. Promotion
of widespread construction of the high/ultrahigh-speed Internet will not
be achieved without development of indispensable and attractive applications/content
suitable for the high/ultrahigh-speed Internet. Accordingly, synergy between
construction of infrastructure and growth in use shall be created.
Toward Diffusion of Websites with Excellent Accessibility
Verification experiments for the diffusion of websites
with excellent accessibility for the elderly and people with disabilities
MPHPT has developed a "web accessibility system" for the
purpose of promoting diffusion of websites with high accessibility for
the elderly and people with disabilities. The ministry has commenced verification
experiments in order to assess and evaluate availability, functions and
user-friendliness of the system with the collaboration of local governments,
For people with disabilities and the elderly with difficulty
in moving places and communication, websites have become necessary means
for obtaining diversified information. Thus, it is crucial that the websites
be accessible by the elderly and people with disabilities.
However, many websites are not usable for the elderly
and people with disabilities; some lack labeled graphics (with text information)
as substitute for image information, some lack screen reader compatibility
functions with which people suffering from vision impairment can grasp
images, or others cannot be understood by people suffering from color blindness
because their graphs and tables are made only with color information. Now,
it is an important task to improve web accessibility for the elderly and
people with disabilities.
As guidelines for web accessibility, the World Wide Web
Consortium (W3), an international organization, created the "Web Content
Accessibility Guidelines 1.0" in 1999. In Japan, based on the W3 Guidelines,
the "guidelines concerning creation method of accessible web content over
the Internet" was published in 1999.
The latter guidelines stipulate methods for website creators
and authoring tool developers to provide the elderly and people with disabilities
with websites accessible as well as technological issues that have to be
cared so that the elderly and people with disabilities may understand web
MPHPT, based on the guidelines, has created a support
system with functions such as evaluating websites whether or not they are
accessible for the elderly and people with disabilities in FY2000.
The system is composed of:
1) Evaluation/correction systems with functions
to check problems of given websites, and, if necessary, to automatically
correct or to lead the creator to easily correct;
The evaluation/correction systems, the core function of the
entire system, checks websites with more than one hundred items classified
in four priority levels, and evaluate checking results in four grades of
B, A, AA and AAA.
2) Access support systems which improve web accessibility
for the elderly and people with disabilities, e.g., enlarging fonts or
altering coloration to more eye-friendly; and
3) Accessibility sensing systems with functions which
include screen reader compatibility and show examples of views of people
who cannot distinguish colors.
MPHPT is planning to conduct verification experiments
in FY2001 - FY2002 in order to make the support system more easy-to-use.
Since September 2001, the verification experiments of
the support system have been commenced in three areas (Sendai City, Okayama
Prefecture and Fukuoka City) with collaboration of local governments, private
companies, website creators, etc. In the verification experiments, the
Senior-net (which supports IT use of the elderly and people with disabilities)
and PC volunteers participate.
After getting the test results, the improved system is
planned to be released for the public use. MPHPT will encourage the use
of the support system in government organizations as well as in other places,
and promote the diffusion of websites accessible not only for the elderly
and people with disabilities but also for every citizen.
Facilities and Equipment Investment by Communications
Industry Totals 3.8 Trillion Yen in FY2000, Scheduled to Reach 4.1 Trillion
Yen Total in FY2001
MPHPT compiled a survey result on facilities and equipment
investment by the communications industry conducted in March 2001.
- On Actual Facilities and Equipment Survey for Communications
The survey has been conducted twice a year since FY1989
for the purpose of comprehending actual facilities and equipment investment
and its trend.
Collection rate (%)
|Type I telecommunications carrier
|Type II telecommunications carrier
|Private broadcasting business
|Cable TV operators
Type I telecommunications carrier: All carriers were surveyed.
Type II telecommunications carrier: All Special Type
II carriers were surveyed; as for General Type II carriers, carriers capitalized
at or more than 30 million yen were surveyed.
Commercial broadcasters: All broadcasters are surveyed.
Cable TV operators: Operators other than stock companies
with equal to or more than 100,000 drop terminals are excluded.
Outline of the survey
1. Amounts of facilities and equipment investment
of the communications industry
1) Actual facilities and equipment investment in FY2000
by the communications industry is expected to be 3,756.1 billion yen, down
8.2% from the previous fiscal year.
(A main factor is the investment decrease of NTT and
Type II telecommunications carriers.)
2) Facilities and equipment investment plans by the communications
industry for FY2001 increased to 4,076.3 billion yen, an 8.5% increase
from the previous fiscal year.
(A main factor is the investment increase by long-distance
and mobile carriers)
Note: The data on the all industries are based on the Business
and Investment Survey of Incorporated Enterprises," Economic and Social
Research Institute, the Cabinet Office.
|Table 1 Facilities and equipment investment amount
by communications business
Note: The figures for NTT are totals of those of NTT East,
NTT West and NTT Communications.
|Table 2 Facilities and equipment investment
amount by Type I carriers
|Table 3 Facilities and equipment investment amount
by the communications industry
1. Figures for industries other than the communications
industry are based on the "Business and Investment Survey of Incorporated
Enterprises," Economic and Social Research Institute
2. The share in all industries is the ratios of each
industry's facilities and equipment investment amount in all industries'
2. Trends of facilities and equipment investment purposes
1) Type I telecommunications carrier
The ratios of "for expanding service areas" and "for commencing
new services" have increased.
|Investment purposes of Type I telecommunications carriers
2) Type II telecommunications carriers
The ratio of facilities and equipment investment for
"commencing new services" has increased while that for "expanding service
areas" has decreased.
|Investment purposes of Special Type II telecommunications
|Investment purposes of General Type II telecommunications
3) Commercial broadcasters
50% of businesses made facilities and equipment investment
for "renewal (replacing old equipment)" and "improving production capability."
|Investment purposes of commercial broadcasters
4) Cable TV operators
The ratio of facilities and equipment investment for
"commencing new services" has increased.
|Investment purposes of cable TV operators
International Affairs Department,
Ministry of Public Management,
Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications
1-2, Kasumigaseki 2-chome, Chiyoda-ku,
Tokyo 100-8926, Japan