But imagine being able to surf the web at speeds over 20,000 times faster than dial-up – thanks to a new satellite launched by Japan, that may soon be possible. The idea is that rather than using cables to transfer data, satellites and receiving dishes could be used to connect to the internet.
It’s all very well being able to download the latest movies onto your computer 20,000 times faster, but what will the real advantages of super high-speed internet be?
For a start, it could enable remote communities to get access to healthcare because all that would be needed to access the web would be a small, portable satellite dish, rather than miles of cable. Many rural communities around the world cannot access the internet at the moment because of the huge costs, but this new satellite technology could really change lives.
Satellite internet would also enable e-learning to really take off, with teachers able to talk to their pupils in real time through very high quality video.
The new satellite (Kizuna) is only meant to be experimental, but it is the start of a revolution in internet access. It will initially only be available for use in Asia, though Japan may open it up for testing by other countries as well in the future.