JSAT to test broadband service on remote island

June 27, 2006

(Japan Economic Newswire via NewsEdge) JSAT Corp. will begin an experiment to provide a low-cost satellite-based broadband communications service to all households on a remote island in the East China Sea.

Located about 270km from Japan's main island and having a population of only about 50 people, Kodakara Island in Kagoshima Prefecture has analog telephone lines. But through the experiment, residents will be able to experience the Internet, video phone and IP phone services.

The experiment, to be jointly conducted with Kagoshima University's Computing and Communications Center through the end of fiscal 2008 in March 2009, will become the first broadband test to involve all households on one island, according to JSAT.

Under the experiment, all households will be connected with local area networks and will be able to have Internet access with the mainland via satellite.

Through the experiment, JSAT and the center aim to establish a system that will provide the households constant high-speed access at a maximum monthly cost of 5,000 yen ($43.83) per household.

Building terrestrial communication systems such as fiber-optic cables is too costly on isolated islands and in mountainous rural areas.

"This experiment will pave the way for resolving the problem of poor access to information technology" in such areas, said Masato Masuya, associate professor at Kagoshima University.

The government wants all households nationwide to have access to broadband communication services by the end of fiscal 2010.

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