Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Gee whizz in Cornwall

For those in fear of a summer of dodgy internet connections in far flung places, look away now…

The UK’s very own corner of sunshine, Cornwall, is now home to the country’s fastest internet café.

The Goonhilly Satellite Earth Station, on Lizard peninsula, has built a “café” in the grounds of its facility, offering connections upwards of 50 times faster than those in the average home.

How on earth have they managed this?

The location is the key factor in all this: the array of dishes and their computers are rather handily used as one of the connecting points to BT’s “global internet protocol network”.

A BT spokesman is quoted on the BBC News website as saying: “It would be possible to use the cafe's computers to download in less than 15 minutes a file the equivalent size of the DVD version of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, with its 19,000 illustrations, 629 audio and video clips and 100,000 articles.”

Impressive. But how long to book a package holiday or the next flight out of Newquay Cornwall International Airport?

A fast connection, unfortunately, can do little to smooth what for some sites can still be a tortuous process.

Does the phrase “Step 1 of 6” ring any bells??

Kevin May, editor, Travolution

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