Japan Working On Backup Broadband Satellite

from the latency,-anyone? dept

One of the interesting points that people have been making following the FCC’s decision to deregulate DSL providers in order to stimulate broadband growth is that many of the countries ahead of the US on the broadband list got there via government regulation — rather than without it. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best course for everyone to follow, but it might make some people wonder why we’re being told the only answer is to free up DSL lines. Speaking of countries building up massive broadband infrastructure with government help, it appears that Japan is going to build a satellite that will offer broadband access to the entire country. The plan is for a satellite that can offer 100 megabits per second anywhere. They point out that such a satellite would be immune to earthquakes or floods and could be quite useful in the event of a disaster. That’s absolutely true, if that’s the main purpose of the satellite. However, if they’re expecting to use it to offer regular broadband service to users, this offering isn’t likely to be all that useful. First of all, no matter how fast the speed is, the satellite still has to deal with latency issues. People always forget that bandwidth is a combination of speed and latency. Satellites have high latency because it takes time to get to the satellite and back. Also, of course, while 100 megabits per second may sound like a lot, remember that this satellite won’t be launched until 2015. That’s ten years. Ten years ago, many of us were thrilled with 56k modems and look where we are now? Somehow, it seems unlikely that 100 megabits per second will seem all that impressive in ten years.

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