Is Dial–Up Dead?

Joseph ComoMisc.

For years, internet users had only a dial-up connection to the world wide web.  Do you remember the ads and free trial disks in the mail from AOL?  With today’s high speed internet, you might think dial-up is dead, but there are still a few hangers-on.

As of September 2011, AOL reported they have slightly over 3 million dial-up customers.  By the way, they pay an average of $17.95 a month for that service, which is 50 times slower than a typical broadband connection!

Dial-up is a dying service, however.  In 2009, the number of U.S. households that had dial-up was estimated at 4.7 million. In 2010, the number dropped to 4 million and in 2011, it dropped again to 3.2 million.  Experts predict that by 2015 the number will decline to 1 million households.

For many years, AOL reported losing 5 million dial-up customers a year to high-speed alternatives.

Wauknet was Waukesha’s first dial-up service provider founded in 1996.  Yes, we still have dial-up users!  Many of those remaining customers can’t get access to high speed in the areas they live.  They say dial-up is better than no connection at all! 

Throughout my years as technical support manager for Wauknet, I’ve learned there’s something unique about long time dial-up users’ personalities.  They are so used to waiting that they have become very patient.  Some swear there are advantages to waiting for a web page to load, such as, “it’s the right amount of time to make a pot of coffee or it’s a good time to put dinner in the oven”.   They know dial-up is on its way out, but they don’t care.  They wonder, WHAT’S THE HURRY??