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Japan's Comms Still Hampered

Ray Le Maistre
3/14/2011
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Japan's fixed and mobile operators are still battling to bring services back online following the earthquake and tsunami that struck the northeast of the country on Friday, March 11, while some of the country's main vendors have pledged support as the country attempts to recover from the disaster.

As reported late last week, fixed line services were the most reliable in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, with people using social media and online resources to contact relatives and friends. (See Quake Rattles Japan Telecom and Japan Quake Hits Mobile Access.)

Now details of the extent of network outages and damaged lines are emerging.

  • NTT East Corp. reported nearly 880,000 fixed lines out of service in the Iwate and Miyagi Prefectures in northeast Japan on Sunday, reports The Japan Times. The same newspaper also reports that 11,400 mobile base stations were out of service early Sunday morning, citing data from the country's Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry.

  • NTT Communications Corp. (NYSE: NTT), which provides services to business customers, says its subsea cables connecting to other Asia/Pacific countries and the U.S. have been "partially damaged, but the company has been using backup cable routes to maintain uninterrupted service." Repairs to subsea cables operated by a number of carriers are ongoing, reports The Wall Street Journal.
  • NTT Comms also says its IP VPN and e-VLAN Ethernet services have been partially unavailable in the northeast of Japan, but notes that its data center operations have been running as normal.

  • Fujitsu says it's "committed to restoring damaged IT systems in the regions with the highest priority placed on the lifeline systems such as electric power, water, gas, hospitals, and police and fire departments." The firm is also donating ¥100 million (US$1.22 million) and relief supplies to support recovery efforts.

  • NEC Corp. (Tokyo: 6701) is to "donate funds, computers, telecommunications equipment and IT network equipment" valued at more than ¥100 million to help relief and recovery efforts. It also plans to "refrain from nonessential use of electricity while supplies remain short."

  • Chip vendor Renesas Electronics Corp. (Tokyo: 6723), which works closely with NTT DoCoMo Inc. (NYSE: DCM) on mobile platform developments, says seven of its 22 factories in Japan have temporarily shut down, with one, the Renesas Yamagata Semiconductor Tsuruoka Factory, preparing to restart production. Hitachi Ltd. (NYSE: HIT; Paris: PHA) also noted that some of its facilities had "suffered damages, mainly at production bases in Ibaraki prefecture." (See Renesas Unveils Triple-Mode LTE Modem and DoCoMo, Vendors Team Up.)

    — Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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