NHK and five commercial TV broadcasters in the Tokyo area have decided to build a new radio and TV transmitter dubbed New Tokyo Tower, in Sumida Ward by 2010, sources familiar with the project said Saturday.

The tower is to be about 600 meters high, or nearly twice as tall as 333-meter Tokyo Tower in Minato Ward and higher than the world’s tallest tower, the 553-meter CN Tower in Toronto. It will be built on a former railway shunting yard along the Tobu-Isesaki Line’s Narihirabashi and Oshiage stations, they said.

Tobu Railway Co., owner of the site, has expressed willingness to shoulder part of the estimated 50 billion yen construction cost.

NHK and the five broadcasters are expected to put up several hundred million yen each for the project.

The broadcasters will officially announce the site by the end of this month, the sources said, adding the railway operator will soon set up a task force for the project and call for investment from other entities.

The broadcasters are using Tokyo Tower as a transmitter for both analog and digital terrestrial broadcasting. But Japan plans to switch broadcasting waves completely from analog to digital, which will offer high-quality audio visual transmission and two-way communications by July 2011.

A new service for cellphone-based terrestrial digital broadcasting named “wan-segu” (one-segment) broadcasting is also being launched in April with the hope of offering clearer images with less disruption while in motion.

In view of such changes, and to make use the features of digital broadcasting, the broadcasters drew up plans for a second tower that would be tall enough to transmit digital wavelengths over high-rise buildings.

Several local governments and businesses were competing to have the tower built in their areas.

They included the municipal government of Hachioji, which wanted to build the tower at a site in Tama New Town, and the city of Saitama, which wanted the tower to be part of its Saitama New Urban Center project.

In March 2005, the broadcasters tentatively concluded that an area in Sumida and Taito wards would be the most suitable.

But they spent time examining the Saitama plan, which would offer advantages in case a disaster hits Tokyo.

The Sumida Ward site was picked in the end because the location is close and convenient to the broadcasters’ headquarters and because support from local businesses was seen as favorable.

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