Last summer a 75-year-old woman from Karlstad became the envy of internet users worldwide.
With her blistering 40 gigabits per second (40GB/Sec) connection, Sigbritt Löthberg had the world’s fastest internet connection – many thousands of times faster than the average residential link and the first time ever that a home user had experienced such a high speed.
So, after nine months with the ability to download a full high definition DVD in just two seconds or access 1,500 high definition HDTV channels simultaneously, how has Sigbritt’s life changed?
Not much, according to Hafsteinn Jonsson, who is heading up the fibre network operation for Karlstad Stadsnät.
"She mostly used it to dry her laundry," he told The Local.
"It was a big bit of gear and it got pretty warm."
Sigbritt’s son, Swedish internet legend Peter Löthberg, was behind the project, which was intended to demonstrate how a low price, high capacity fibre line could be built over long distances. Löthberg has now taken the equipment up to Luleå, in the north of Sweden, for further testing.
"The project was a huge success," said Hafsteinn Jonsson, who explained that his department now measures its history in terms of ‘Before Sigbritt and After Sigbritt’.
"Apart from the death of Ingmar Bergman, this was the biggest story to come out of Sweden in 2007. We used to get all these detailed questions about what we’re working on – now we just mention Sigbritt and everybody understands."
The secret behind the ultra-fast connection is a new modulation technique which allows data to be transferred directly between two routers up to 2,000 kilometres apart, with no intermediary transponders.
According to Karlstad Stadsnät the distance is, in theory, unlimited – there is no data loss as long as the fibre is in place.
Sigbritt may have been denied her world-beating internet link but she still has an admirable 10 gigabits per second connection. And there may be another surprise in store for her.
"We’re considering giving her a 100 gigabits per second connection in the summer," said Hafsteinn Jonsson.
"Then she’ll be able to dry all her neighbours’ laundry too."