Tired of watching that sluggish stripe crawl across their screens whenever they download data, college kids nationwide are swapping information over a private computer network — at speeds most of us can only begin to imagine.
Schools, scientists and dozens of companies are paying a fee to a nonprofit organization called Internet2 (search) for the privilege of ultra-quick connections.
"Internet2 is a thousand to 10,000 times faster than the networks that people typically have in their homes," said CEO Doug Van Houweling (search), who runs the business in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
The network is so fast that downloading an entire feature-length film isn't a matter of hours or days, but mere minutes or even seconds.
"There's enough speed to do that and a lot of other things at the same time ... you can't do that with the regular public Internet," said Van Houweling.
The network is also giving academic research a boost. At the University of Illinois (search), students use the Internet2 to transfer images from a sophisticated visualization lab.
"We're now working on very high-tech, high-definition screens that are used essentially for scientific discovery," said Tom DeFanti, who does research at the university's Chicago campus.
And Internet2 could even help bring the regular Web up to speed. Corporate users like Apple and Microsoft are studying its applications to develop new tools that would make the Internet faster for the general public.
Click in the video box at the top of the story to watch a report by FOX News' Erik Liljegren.