Press Release

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April 11, 2000

Launch of Corporate Broadband Internet Service (bit-drive)
Broadband telecommunications infrastructure utilizing WLL and
services supporting net business

(Tokyo, Japan)

Sony Corporation will introduce a corporate broadband internet service (bit-drive) from July 2000. Bit-drive will give integrated support for corporate net-related business through a broadband telecommunications infrastructure using a WLL (Wireless Local Loop) as well as the provision of various applications/services.

From a monthly rate starting at 70,000 yen*, companies will be able to construct a business environment where video and other high-volume data is speedily distributed along a broadband network. Firstly, they will have constant access to a broadband telecommunications infrastructure operating at a rate of 1.5Mbps. In addition they can use Japan's first fully-commercialized, multi-location internet TV conferencing system, utilize services which support the creation and distribution of images and visual contents on the internet and also enjoy the benefits of an internet business cyber-mall.

From July 2000, WLL service areas will be situated in Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya, Osaka, Kyoto and Fukuoka (29 base stations).

* In the case of one-line City Access. Charges for various services are separate.

From December 2000, it is planned to add Hokkaido, Tohoku, Shinetsu, Hokuriku, Chugoku, Shikoku and Okinawa, and then to install a nationwide total of 100 base stations through FY 2000.

bit-drive outline

1. Telecommunications Infrastructure

The telecommunications infrastructure will be WLL which has the following features:

(1) Ability to transmit high-speed, high-capacity interactive data.

(2) No need to lay large amounts of cable (optical fiber etc.)

(3) Comparatively cheap costs for terminal communications equipment and base station installation leading to highly economical provision of top quality data communications service.

(4) Simple installation of base stations means that they can be established flexibly for special events or limited periods of time.

Experimental service will start in May for Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya, Osaka, Kyoto and Fukuoka. Full service in these areas is scheduled for July. The target is then to provide nationwide service from December.

A. Broad Access (provisional title)

This service is aimed at small and medium-sized companies and SOHOs who are considering supplementing their existing dedicated line with an additional internet connection. Constant internet connection (best-effort mode*) at 1.5Mbps for a monthly rate of 150,000 yen is envisaged.

* Speed setting is maximum. Can change depending on circumstances.

B. Broad Access Plus (provisional title)

In conjunction with the above service, this offers the network server (Digital Gate) in a rental/maintenance package. The total projected monthly usage rate is 180,000 yen.

C. City Access (provisional title)

This service is targeted at companies who have branches or customers in the 23 wards of the Tokyo area. Within this area, data communications can take place between the companies' branches or between the company and its clients at a maximum rate of 1.5Mbps (best effort mode). A fixed rate of around 70,000 yen will be applied (internet connections and data communications outside the designated area will be charged according to volume). It is planned to introduce this service first in the Tokyo metropolitan area and then extend it to Nagoya, Osaka and Fukuoka etc.

D. Community Service (provisional title)

This service is designed for companies who are developing internet services aimed at residents of apartment buildings. With the cooperation of major developers and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like Sony Communication Network, residents of these blocks will be offered a constant internet connection. This will be in the form of a shared communications circuit transmitting data at a maximum of 1.5 MBps (best-effort mode). It is projected that the monthly rate per user will be a maximum of 5000 yen (internet connection charge plus circuit usage fee).

Network Server "Digital Gate"

Sony has developed the Internet Server "Digital Gate" (DG-L101) which contains all the necessary functions for internet connection. Companies who introduce bit-drive will rent Digital Gate, and their company servers can then be maintained remotely through the network. In addition a Memory Stick which contains all setting information for each company's network environment is provided. Simply by inserting the Memory Stick, all the necessary settings for the installation of Digital Gate can be easily implemented. Essential internet connection features such as DNS, firewalls, proxy server, mail server, WWW server etc. are all pre-set.
(Digital Gate will initially be packaged with the WLL).

2. Business Support Service - Business Creation Platform

From July, a variety of business creation platforms which exploit the broadband network will be offered to support companies doing net-related business. Through the application of element technologies for settlements, hosting, housing, authentication and IP3, environments that meet user needs in office applications, contents creation and network marketing will be provided. Integrated products are planned which provide support from access to the telecommunications infrastructure and business creation platforms.

A. bit-port (provisional title)

A more efficient and attractive office environment can be created by utilizing the special advantages of a broadband network. Multiple office locations can be connected by an internet TV system and video business news services supplied. Various kinds of applications including groupware will also be offered.

B. bit-promotion (provisional title)

Through a tie-up with companies such as Creek & River Co., Ltd. which has a resource-base of 12,000 digital creators, highly economical visual promotion production services will be offered. "On Line Matching" will allow companies with video contents creation needs to liaise directly with contents creators on-line. Using the broadband network, drafts produced by creators can also be checked speedily on-line.

Integrated support for corporate visual promotions is also strengthened by access to Sony's library of 65,000 High Definition (HD) images and a streaming distribution service.

C. bit-messe (provisional title)

Bit-messe is a virtual business mall where companies can perform event-driven marketing activities. By using Visionarts ' IP3 technology, companies can develop state-of-the-art visual product presentations and advertising on the network. IP3 also allows companies to deploy highly effective network marketing strategies. Access Pack

This supplements Broad Access Plus with services including introductions to Home Page Creators, Web Hosting and access to bit-messe. A monthly charge of 250,000 yen is projected. The Access Pack symbolizes the bit-drive approach of supporting companies' net business through access to broadband telecommunications infrastructure and provision of application services.

Inquiries on bit-drive service:

Bit-drive Information Center
Tel: 0570-006006
Bit-drive home page: