A quick technology lesson for the easily intimidated: an Internet connection speed of 1 gigabit per second translates to a single high definition movie off the internet onto your PC in a minute. In theory.
A recent study shows that the Netherlands is the country with third best broadband Internet connection, after Japan and Sweden.
Jealous cries were heard from across the globe, bemoaning the lack of local governments’ willingness to innovate, but the position of the Netherlands has probably less to do with the innovative nature of its citizens and more with the way the country urbanised during the industrial revolution. Many railroads not just connecting cities but cutting through right to the city centres makes it easy to lay cables, especially if this network of rails is already owned by the government.
Meanwhile, a company called Draka has developed fibernet connectors for houseboat owners, so that they too may be connected to the Citynet initiative which aims to hook up almost all of Amsterdam to a 1 gigabyte per second fiber optics network before 2010. Shown here is Olivier Ax in front of his houseboat. So what do these owners of the first fiber optic connections do with all that speed? Whispers around the Internet say they first throttle it to 20 megabit per second, because the faster subscriptions are too expensive.