Japan is launching the Kizuna satellite, which will bring high-speed internet access to Japan's remote territories and neighboring countries, as well as providing continuous networking in case of emergency. The $342 million project, spearheaded by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), is expected to culminate in internet connections reaching speeds of 1.2Gbps, dwarfing current ADSL connections that typically allow data transfer to occur at below 8 Mbps. Users will need to install an antenna to be able to receive a signal, but for those speeds, I'd be willing to trade in a pound of my very own flesh.
Kizuna is expected to go live in July following a setup process once it is in position, but a speed boost is not the only aim of the game. Having a satellite in space means natural disasters on Earth are not going to have any ramifications on the country's connectivity, which can be imperative in disaster zones. If all should go well, expect such an infrastructure to hit the mainstream. Does that mean everyone will have a 1.2Gbps connection? Will outages become a thing of the past? Does Simba eventually become a good leader? The answers come in July, when the service rolls out. [JAXA via Yahoo News; AP]