Christmas Dreams: super-fast broadband

The Black Caps' poor performance, the junk mail that overflows from the mailbox as Christmas approaches and long queues at the supermarket - they all annoy and frustrate thousands of New Zealanders.

But the thing that makes my blood boil the most is the hourglass that appears on the computer screen while I wait for a website to load.

So what I really, really wanted for Christmas was a super-fast broadband connection.

Sigbritt Lothberg, a 75-year old woman from Karlstad in Sweden, was lucky enough to be given one three years ago to test technology developed by her son.

Her 40 gigabit a second connection was amazingly, incredibly, blisteringly fast.

To put it in perspective, a survey last month by Epitro Technologies and The New Zealand Herald found the average broadband speed here is a relatively pitiful 3.4 megabits a second.

That's about 11,700 times slower than that enjoyed by our Swedish granny.

So what could be done with a broadband connection like that? A blu-ray movie could be downloaded in 2 seconds.

Downloading a standard definition movie would take quite literally a blink of an eye.

And 87,700 average songs could be downloaded in a minute.

Listening to all those songs from start to finish would take a little over seven months - assuming you could last that long without sleep.

With broadband speeds like that, I would probably create the world's biggest music collection (all tracks would, of course, be legally obtained).

But Mrs Lothberg seemed completely unmoved by the fact she had what was believed to be the world's fastest residential broadband connection.

She mostly used it to dry her laundry, Hafsteinn Jonsson, a spokesman for fibre network operator Karlstad Stadsnat told Swedish website The Local in March.

"It was a big bit of gear and it got pretty warm."

Earlier this year, Ms Lothberg had her broadband speed cut to 10 gigabits a second, still 2900 times faster than the average New Zealand connection.

However, Ms Lothberg may yet reclaim her crown as the owner of the world's fastest residential broadband connection.

"We're considering giving her a 100 gigabits per second connection," Mr Jonsson told The Local.

"Then she'll be able to dry all her neighbours' laundry too."

-Blair Mayston

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