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Okay, so the Internet is an integral part of your life. You use it to do research, download music, email your friends and update your blog. For all I know, you might have even met your lover through a website.
But did you know about Internet 2 ? Internet 2 is just like the current Internet, only millions of times more powerful (running at 10 gigabits per second, if you're technically minded). It is capable of transferring huge chunks of data in the blink of an eye. Instead of downloading one tune, download millions. Instead of waiting a day to download the next season of Lost, do it in a couple of minutes. Or use a webcam to talk face to face to your cousin in Australia, in perfect clarity, for free.
Except that you can't do any of these things, because Internet 2 is not available to the public - and it may never be. In fact it has been developed by an elite group of universities for research purposes (www.internet2.edu). One of the legal purposes of Internet2 is to manage data from high-tech telescopes pointed towards outer space. Not that this prevented a group of college students from using it to trade millions of copyrighted pop songs illegally at high speed. They were taken to court by the music industry.
Internet 2 CEO Doug Van Houweling tells us not to worry. Although our home computers won't have access to Internet 2, higher speeds will soon enable us to download Lost almost as quickly as his researchers could, if they so wished.