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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  1. identicon
    Techie, 23 Jun 2006 @ 10:29am


    I would rather not have the internet at all than to use dialup ever again!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Depends where you live, 23 Jun 2006 @ 10:37am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Techie, 23 Jun 2006 @ 10:42am

    Re: R U Sure?

    Actually no I would never use dialup again..even when I worked for AOHELL and got free dialup, I still paid for broadband.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Ronde, 23 Jun 2006 @ 10:49am

    to hell with dial-up

    When i had dial up, i barely went online cuz it took so long to connect. I wouldn't go back even if i was paid a million dollars to.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    JerseyRich, 23 Jun 2006 @ 11:02am

    I use my internet connection primarily for gaming so I could never go back to dialup for that.

    Of course, I would still use it for posting on www.callandanswer.com

    and for posting on TD :-)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. icon
    Bob (profile), 23 Jun 2006 @ 11:39am

    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).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Royce, 23 Jun 2006 @ 11:40am

    There is no going back...

    I bet if you take those 60% that say they will never go broadband and gave it to them free for one week, a majority wouldn't be going back.

    If this service was readily avaliable to them that is.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    WD Milner, 23 Jun 2006 @ 11:40am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Republican Gun, 23 Jun 2006 @ 11:43am

    Do VPN's count?

    I only dial up our vpn ( not really dialing) but it reminds me of dialup.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    exit2600x, 23 Jun 2006 @ 11:50am

    southwest area

    Here in texas, you have no choice in certant areas. Some towns still have 20 year old phone lines. I was only able to connect at 14.4k on a 56k modem!! DSL is out of the question, and the cable company doesnt even offer data services. Satelight is the only way, but for gaming is not any better.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    OldGameaholic, 23 Jun 2006 @ 11:56am


    Well, I remember old days playing Q2 over dial-up and I sometimes had ping like around 20 or so. Anything under a 100 was playable.
    So, nowadays with RR and playing ET I get the same kinda ping - under 100. So, what's changed?
    In my perspective - nothing much.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jun 2006 @ 11:59am

    I still know a few who use dial-up.

    If all I ever did was e-mail and occasional web-surfing, I'm not sure i'd bother with broadband.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    zachary pond, 23 Jun 2006 @ 12:09pm

    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...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Ben, 23 Jun 2006 @ 12:12pm

    Re: to hell with dial-up

    I might for a mil.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    charlie potatoes, 23 Jun 2006 @ 12:19pm

    Re: Personally....

    who do you really think gives a shit if you don't like dial up? actually this whole thread is pretty lame. its all about opinions... and like assholes... you get my point? we just like to see our little screen names posted. god damn. spare me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Luke, 23 Jun 2006 @ 12:21pm

    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?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Zeroth404, 23 Jun 2006 @ 12:25pm

    If you're paying more than $0/mo for dialup, you're payign too much.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    toronto digerati, 23 Jun 2006 @ 12:29pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    Howard, 23 Jun 2006 @ 12:29pm

    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 www.celtic-fiddler.com

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    Ric, 23 Jun 2006 @ 12:39pm

    Dial-up is dieing- slowly

    I work for a ISP that started selling dial-up, and now focuses on Business grade. we still have a sizable dial-up following, and it seems if the customer is under 55, they want high-speed, but it would seem the old ones are content with internet that moves as quick as they do.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. identicon
    ET, 23 Jun 2006 @ 12:43pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. identicon
    Wolfger, 23 Jun 2006 @ 12:46pm

    Re: to hell with dial-up

    When i had dial up, i barely went online cuz it took so long to connect.

    You mean, you actually disconnected? Three words: second phone line. Would I go back for a million dollars? That depends on how long I'd have to stay there, I guess. I plan on living a loooong time.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. identicon
    Wouldn't use dial-up for a million?, 23 Jun 2006 @ 12:51pm

    Re: to hell with dial-up


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. identicon
    s1l3nt.c, 23 Jun 2006 @ 12:59pm

    Dial up issues

    I thought was going to have the first post, but my modem is too slow. :-(

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. identicon
    Dave, 23 Jun 2006 @ 1:05pm

    use other sources!

    I have dialup. When I need to download something big I just go to the library or internet cafe. I just downloaded Ubuntu in 45 minutes at my library! It would take about 20 hours on dial up.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26. identicon
    Lisa Foster, 23 Jun 2006 @ 1:05pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27. identicon
    Frank, 23 Jun 2006 @ 1:12pm

    300 baud?

    Anyone remember the good 'ole days of 300 baud?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28. identicon
    Chris, 23 Jun 2006 @ 1:24pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29. identicon
    DaveP in Ohio, 23 Jun 2006 @ 1:32pm

    How about pushing it to 485?

    Anyone else remember tweaking the settings on their Commodore 64 to get on at a blazing 485 to play Empire?

    Boy have we come a long way...

    And yes, I actually have ran at 110bps, teletype connection... I was hooked on computers from the very first '>' prompt!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30. identicon
    charlie potatoes, 23 Jun 2006 @ 1:42pm


    listen to you squirrels...my god what a bunch of geeks.. who gives a shit. get a life.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31. identicon
    Nilt, 23 Jun 2006 @ 1:56pm

    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!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32. identicon
    KevinG79, 23 Jun 2006 @ 1:58pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33. identicon
    Sobriquet, 23 Jun 2006 @ 2:18pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34. identicon
    txjump, 23 Jun 2006 @ 2:23pm


    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35. identicon
    Ah Ah Ahhh..., 23 Jun 2006 @ 2:24pm

    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

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36. identicon
    take a guess, kevin, 23 Jun 2006 @ 2:31pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37. identicon
    BlackCow, 23 Jun 2006 @ 3:11pm

    I think we should get rid of phone lines all together. We should replace them all with fiber optic cables. I dont even use a LAN line phone (I just use a cell phone). But we could have voIP phones and internet and maby TV all on fiber optic cables.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38. identicon
    antoinette, 23 Jun 2006 @ 3:49pm

    hey black cow :D

    qu'il mangent de la brioche, huh? Let them eat cake? heh.. yeah and if the poor have no fiber optics? well...who really cares?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39. identicon
    DittoBox, 23 Jun 2006 @ 10:37pm

    Re: to hell with dial-up

    For how long? Or rather, once I get my million from ISP A and Telco X can I switch to ISP B and Telco Y?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40. identicon
    Siddharth Razdan, 24 Jun 2006 @ 2:35am

    Dial-Up. Mixed Scenario.

    Well, It cannot be stated very well that Dial_up is losing its relevence these days. I live here in India and what the trend is everyone, even that who's up on net for only 30 minutes/day, or maybe less is going for broadband. Dial-up is expensive.

    (Siddharth Razdan)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jun 2006 @ 11:07pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42. identicon
    thegcinfo, 25 Jun 2006 @ 5:16pm

    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

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43. identicon
    emokid, 1 Sep 2007 @ 4:20pm

    Re: dial-up pisses me off

    lol i have dialup and my friend has dsl through aol and we tested wich was faster i loaded a video on youtube in like 45 minutes and his took an hour i really dont know how that was possible.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44. identicon
    Malachi, 19 Jun 2008 @ 8:02pm

    Dial-Up: Dead Or Alive?

    I know that sometimes living in rural areas can limit a persons choice of broadband internet providers, but I live in a town of 10,000 people (which is surrounded by nothing for miles) and I can get DSL or Cable Internet for $20.00 U.S. a month. I do have Dial-Up however which is actually pretty gross!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45. identicon
    Robert, 10 May 2010 @ 7:35pm

    Cellphone anyone?

    All of you do realize that you can use your cellphone as a modem for your pc, right? I do when comcast fucks up. Dood 1mb down and about 40kb up. Faster than dialup and available anywhere one can get a signal. For 20 bucks of unlt. everything it was worth it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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