While I was experiencing connection issues because my ISP sucks, Japan was busy launching the Kizuna satellite, which is hoped will bring high-speed internet access to Japan and neighbouring countries. The US$342 million project, spearheaded by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), is expected to culminate in a terrestrially accessible internet connection 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? These are a few of the questions the Kizuna raises, but we shall wait for July to rollover before passing any judgment. Hey, if anyone can do it, it's the Japanese, right? [JAXA via Yahoo News; AP]