FiOS to your neighborhood, imagine how long it would take to connect the entire continent of Africa. Verizon wouldn't bother trying, but satellite company O3b, in partnership with Google, is doing just that. The pair plan to bathe that continent (and others) with soothing Internet waves via 16 medium-earth orbit (MEO) units. Latency is said to be only 120 milliseconds, with maximum download speeds at 1.25Gbps. That's seriously fast, about the same as Japan's Kizuna (set to cover disconnected Asian regions), but before you cancel your 1.5Mbps WildBlue account and go on a bandwidth safari know that these new orbital hotspots are destined to act as backbones for use by smaller ISPs. They'll in turn provide wireless access direct to customers over 3G or WiMax, throttling things appropriately.
[Via ZDNet Government]