For all the ways the Internet has changed how we live and work over the last 20 years, there are still plenty of areas it hasn’t touched, and plenty more where it hasn’t been as revolutionary as predicted. (Futurists in the ’90s said we’d all be making virtual commutes by now. Most of us are still waiting.)
One limiting factor has been connectivity speeds, which haven’t grown to allow for more sophisticated services and, in the U.S., have even fallen behind other nations. The current U.S. average connection speed is 10.5 megabits per second (Mbps) compared to speeds of up to 23.6 Mbps in South Korea, the nation with the best speeds.
But what happens when we do finally get fiber into every home? That’s the subject of a new report from the Pew Research Center, which asked 1,464 experts to make predictions for what might become possible with speeds 50 to 100 times faster than what we have now. Below are a few ideas we picked out.