You know, I think I still have a few of these!
Image credit: usna.edu
This article from my web host, titled “CyberLynk Discontinues Dialup/ISDN Internet Service After 20 Years“, got me to thinking about the old days of 56k and whether or not anyone still uses a phone line and a modem to access the Internet. Turns out, they do!
Although I couldn’t find accurate statistics on current-day usage, a poll taken back in 2012 by the Pew Research Center found that 3% of Americans still used dialup. That may not sound like much, but it still means millions of people have to wait for that scratchy buzz and hum before surfing the ‘Net.
Believe it or not, some 2+ million folks still subscribe to AOL’s dialup service!! I have to wonder how many of those are not even aware that they’re still paying for said service. Boy, thinking about the days when the only way onto the Web was through AOL sends chills of horror up my spine.
Most (though not all) of dialup usage is typically found in rural areas, where broadband is only available if you can afford satellite access. Of course, we’re talking about the U.S. here — I’m sure the figures are much, much higher in other parts of the world, if there is even Internet access at all.
The one thing I believe that will finally kill off dialup, even in rural areas, will be the overarching presence of smart phones — once everyone can get on the Web via their cell phone provider, even the small screen sizes won’t be as much of a hindrance as the achingly slow “speed” of dialup…