Dial-Up: Dead Or Alive?

from the not-dead-yet! dept

It’s always fun when you get two absolutely conflicting headlines to show up on the same day. Broadband Reports picks up on a Nielsen/NetRatings study with the title: Newsflash: Dial-Up is Dying, while Fox retorts: Reports of Death of Dial-Up Internet Greatly Exaggerated. Of course, the details suggest that both may be right. They’re actually talking about different studies. The second one is about a Pew study — and the numbers are slightly different, but relatively close. The Nielsen report notes 28% still using dialup (while also pointing out that’s down from 43% last year). The Pew report says 34% — a slightly higher number. However, the Pew report also asked those dialup users what their intentions for the future were, and 60% said they were perfectly happy with dialup accounts, and saw no reason to move to broadband. So, perhaps dialup is simply shrinking, but there are going to be a core group of holdouts, who just won’t let go of the sound of a modem connecting for quite some time.

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Comments on “Dial-Up: Dead Or Alive?”

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KevinG79 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Personally....

Hey CHARLIE..I guess you like seeing your name here too, huh?

So what If we’re posting opinions. Isn’t that what the comment feature is for? To share our views and ideas?

My view. Dial up is dying. For those of you who claim it’s your only choice….it won’t be for long. I know a lot of people who live out in noman’s land…but somehow they manage to get broadband. Just wait till broadband over powerlines hits (soon). Then there will be no more “dial up is my only choice” excuses. And for those who say they’re happy with dial up. LOL. You seriously don’t know what you’re missing. I’m with the others. I’d rather have NO Internet than have to suffer with dial-up again. How any ISP can charge more than $1/month for crappy dial-up service is beyond me.

take a guess, kevin (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Personally....

what i mean is ‘dial up…broadband’… so the fuck what? you guys are acting like it matters. such lofty issues to debate..who the hell doesn’t know and understand the difference?

we use dial up for our own reason if that is what we have.

what’s next? vote on your favorite boy band? Is Bush doing a good job? this sounds like myspace anymore.

as for you, kevin, FUCK YOU, TOWEL HEAD.

Depends where you live says:

R U Sure?

I bet you’d put up with dialup if it was your only choice. The numbers don’t tell you how many of those people have no choice.

The only option in my area–which is very close to major urban area–not way-isolated or anything–is dialup or satellite. And the latter has huge startup costs.

You learn to adjust–For instance, I get my podcasts by chipping away at them for an hour in the morning and an hour at night–so as not to tie up the phone line. MIght take 2-3 days to get a big one, but eventually the job gets done.

Bob (profile) says:

My reason for using dialup at home is because its the only option available thats afforadable. Cable and DSL are not available (I live in a rather rural area), and satellite is simply too expensive. When I need a high speed connection, I do it from work on my laptop (we’re allowed to use their internet for personal use after work if its on our own computers).

WD Milner (user link) says:

Hardly dead or even close

I’d have to go looking for any updates but the last stats I saw (about 2 months ago were that of the worldwide internet users (only about 15% of the world population) some 75-80% still used dial-up.

This is for various reasons such low cost, unavailability of broadband, cost of broadband. While many places have high penetration of brodband services, and in some cases cheap rates, that penetration is by no means as deep as the providers would have us think.

As to site stats those can be influence by many things. One of the most obvious is – does your content cater to material of primary interest to the average broadband user rather than the general user? Is the site media rich or slow and time consuming to use for someone on dial-up (which means they stop visiting and work gets around that it’s a slow site so fewer others on dial-up don’t visit).

There is a lot of life left in dial-up and it will be around a long time so long as some providers insist on gouging level priice for broadband in some markets. In other regions it’s simply a matter of access. Since the cost to provide, or number of customers is too low, some regions are ignored by most providers.

zachary pond says:

i work for a carrier and we see the dial-up business thriving. we don’t offer dial-up service (only DSL, T-1, DS-3 OC-N, PON, etc), but one of the things we do sell is PRI to dial-up ISPs and they just continue to grow.

it’s pretty amazing, but there is still a lot of dial-up out there and those ISPs seem to be doing well.

obviously we only have visibility to the orders that come in and not the country’s dial-up base as a whole. but it’s more than one would think…

Luke (user link) says:

I hate dialup, but know those that that's it for c

My parents and some of my friends who’re still back home only have dialup as a feasiable internet connection.

It works because they don’t do a “whole lot” on the net, but it makes getting updates a pain in the arse. There are still a lot of people on dialup and there are a lot of people who simply have no other choice (satellite connection is spotty) so my question is why can’t people who update their software via the net (namely Microsoft) make it easier for people on slow connections to get the updates?

toronto digerati says:

What is this dial up you speak of?

Is that archaic technology still around? I haven’t used dial up since my youngest was born and she turns 10 on Monday!

But then again living in Canada with the largest broadband penetration does have it’s advantages and having been at the bleeding edge of technology throughout the web era has also had it’s advantages.

Howard (user link) says:

Dial-up backup

When I was forced to used Comcast cable for “broadband” (no other competition in my area), I kept a $10/month dialup account to use for a backup, simply because I could not afford to have my business be down for as long or as often as the Comcast cable was out (sometimes for as long as 3 days at a stretch). Interestingly, there were times that the Comcast cable was nominally ‘up’, but the dial-up was actually faster.

Although I have had FiOS for a couple of months (long enough that I have some confidence that it is more reliable than Comcast cable), I still keep the dialup account because I can use my cellphone to attach to my laptop on the road. Eventually, however, I will drop the dialup, once Wi-fi become sufficiently ubiquitous, or WiMax (or some variant) becomes both inexpensive and widely available.

Comcast is history as far as I’m concerned, but I don’t really want them to go out of business — I don’t want Verizon to get complacent. Competition is a Good Thing.

Howard Lee Harkness

The Celtic Fidder http://www.celtic-fiddler.com

ET says:

It's still alive, alright...

I work for an ISP in Wisconsin. We offer both T1, DSL and dial-up service. What do we sell most of? Yep. Dial-up. Why? For most people that’s the only option available. For others, they can’t justify the cost of broadband compared to their usage. If you’re only going to be on the Internet for 20 hours a month, you aren’t going to be likely to pay more than $10 a month for it, regardless of speed.

As long as that fabled “Last Mile” project has not been completed, dialup will remain alive and well.

Lisa Foster says:

Dial-up user

As a computer support professional, I service a lot of home users. There are still many in my area that use dialup. Many of the ISPs who provide dialup access have made use of new compression technology to make it faster. Although broadband is faster, dialup is more widely available and far cheaper.

As long as broadband continues to have limited availablility and is overpriced, dialup will still have a customer base. In response to a comment about backup connections, most cable providers have backup dialup access if their cable access goes down. Living in hurricane alley, this is a valuable offering. AFter Hurricane Ivan in 2004, I went 30 days without cable, 11 days without power, but phone lines worked. Once I had my power turned on, I was able to dial in to my Cox cable account. Yes it was slower, but certainly better than nothing.

Chris says:

i cant see it

i am sorry, i just cant see how dial up is even close to worth it, even if you use it once a month! personally, i am a heavy internet user. i run 4 computers constantly and sometimes a 5th computer. i was using DSL but found it to be too slow and then moved up to FiOS. AMAZING SERVICE!!! it was faster and cheaper than my dsl service offered by the same provider…..verizon. not to mention, when verizon starts with their new TV service i am gonna want to get that, its better than anything else on the market.

Nilt says:

The real title should be "Broadband's penetration

Here in the Seattle area, I still see huge swaths where dialup is the ONLY option. There are places where cable and/or DSL is a constant in 6 months you’ll have it” and where you also couldn’t get a decent satellite feed, either.

This can literally be in the middle of other areas which do have DSL or cable. The penetration of broadband is abysmal compared to what the general public thinks. Even in the Seattle City limits, it was only 12 months ago that 128k/128k DSL became available on my block, although the telco will sure charge ya for faster. Not that the lines support faster but you can pay for it. The cable’s surprisingly stable where I am but in other spots it’s hit and miss.

What ticked me off the most was last summer when the City ran fiber past my house but I can’t tap into it because it’s not a public utility line. Apparently it’s just for City Government use. Argh!

Sobriquet says:

Rural Access and You

I live in a rural area and many people use dial-up but several new companies in the area are offering high speed access to rural residents via 802.11x broadcast from towers. Each tower can cover several miles around it. Essentially it’s a powerful wireless router set-up. The customer has a special antenna capable of reaching the tower. Works great from what I hear. I myself am lucky enough to have a cable modem, and frankly, wouldn’t go to dial-up even if I had no other option.

txjump says:


im spoiled too, i have fios. but my computer habits have changed over the years as my connection got better.

my parents only have dial-up because thats all that is available. they cant shell out the big bucks every month for satelite. so, they use the internet more like i used to use it, for updates, email, some surfing.

as long as the isps only offer dial-up in rural areas, they can charge whatever they want. but there is a price point that becomes insane and people stop buying…just like any commodity. as long as they stay well under the satelite cost, they will have customers.

Ah Ah Ahhh... says:

Dialup has its place.

People are quick to condemn dialup but it has it’s strengths:

*Broadband is not available everywhere and if options are few the costs are high.

*Copper phone lines use voltage instead of digital signals (low voltage), the higher voltage is by far more robust and reliable than a digital signal. broadband is more vulnerable to line noise and corruption as a result.

*Phone lines offer more routes to connect physically because of the switching technology already in place. If a segment is severed, you can still connect. Broadband has proprietary lines that if severed, may simply not connect elsewhere because there usually arent redundant routes as in telephone switching.

*In high

Anonymous Coward says:

There is a whole lot of countryside out of reach of DSL or cable television, here and around the world. There is always dish for downstream, but with broadband becoming a two-way street, upstream is still bottlenecked at dialup speeds. Dialup users tend to be better time managers because they have to. My cablemodem connection costs 4 times what dialup costs, but it’s about 20 times faster for me. I’ll pay the difference.

thegcinfo (user link) says:

dial-up pisses me off

My relatives have six acres of land out in the country so like 20 years after we all got cable tv they finally wire that area for cable tv, internet, and telephone but only my aunt in the house closest to the street can get cable tv/internet/telephone for 99 bucks a month. Charter tells the ones set back on the same property further from the road that they can’t get it cause they are too far from the road. Anyways I was at the house of the aunt with dialup the other day (AOL just to make it even worse) and I swear it pissed me off because I got disconnected like 45 times and all I wanted to do was read news, I was able to read two stories in that time…that was it…I finally gave up and disconnected…I have charter 5 MBps and sometimes I feel like its not fast enough for me LOL

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