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We Don't Need No Stinkin' Broadband 572

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the luddite-and-lovin'-it dept.
Ant writes "eMarketer has an article on The Yankee Group's analysis on why some Americans aren't feeling the broadband love. It was based on Ipsos Public Affairs. 45% of Americans say it's simply too expensive. 30% say that they just don't want it. 14% say they feel dial-up is adequate for their needs. Less than 10% are not able to get broadband access in their area. Five percent insist broadband is "too complicated". Another 5% aren't even sure why they don't have it..."
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We Don't Need No Stinkin' Broadband

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  • Broadband (Score:5, Funny)

    by Psychor (603391) on Friday February 17, 2006 @01:27AM (#14739926) Homepage
    29% of broadband users needed to refresh Slashdot more rapidly so that they could obtain a first post.
  • by Bananatree3 (872975) on Friday February 17, 2006 @01:30AM (#14739938)
    I mean, if all you do is dial up for 5 minutes each day to download your email, I guess a 5 buck a month service suffices. But I imagine that in 15 years, such a meager usage would be almost unimaginable.
    • by nwbvt (768631) on Friday February 17, 2006 @02:44AM (#14740270)
      Why would it be "almost unimaginable" that there will be people who won't make much use of the Internet 15 years from now? Believe it or not, there is a world outside of /., where people don't use the Internet for much more than occasionally checking their email, and that world will likely continue to exist. Today there are plenty of people who watch very little TV or who don't own CD players, and they are not all crazy wacko Luddites who live in cabins in Montana.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        The savings to companies and organizations that come from putting information on their web sites are huge. Printing costs a ton, even today. People at desks to talk to the public cost more. Actually keeping less-sold items in stock across the continent instead of just shipping them when wanted is incredibly expensive.

        More and more companies will reach the point where it's almost impossible to get your business done without using the internet. How long will companies accept resumes on paper? How long will ba
        • by nwbvt (768631) on Friday February 17, 2006 @09:03AM (#14741278)
          "More and more companies will reach the point where it's almost impossible to get your business done without using the internet. How long will companies accept resumes on paper?"

          Yes, many jobs will require Internet access. Many jobs today require Internet access. But are you seriously going to tell me that day laborers or fast food restaurant workers are going to need access to the Internet in order to do their jobs?

          "How long will banking without the internet be reasonable?"

          Probably for a very long time. Unless banks can find a way to print money over the Internet, ATMs and physical banks will need to continue to exist.

          "When will doing your taxes without it become impractical?"

          Its not that hard to fill out a W-2 form. And even with tax programs, you are still going to need to enter the same information. If your taxes are a bit more complex, those programs are very useful, but not everyone is going to need that.

          "any more than I can really comprehend people who don't use ATMs."

          Well that just means you are not very good at comprehending other people's lifestyles.

      • Why would it be "almost unimaginable" that there will be people who won't make much use of the Internet 15 years from now?

        It might not be uninmaginable that there are people who don't need broadband access to you, but it could be to people trying to run a dialup ISP. Just like there will always be a market for albums recorded on audio cassette, but at some point no record label will care.

        After a certain point, there are simply not enough subscriibers in an area to justify having a local access number in a t
    • I use internet plenty, I do fair amount of web surfing, connect to my work "net drive", upgrade my distro, download and install new software, get articles from on-line journals, ... - all on dialup. I want broadband, it would be great to have broadband, but with assistant professor salary, three kids, house and car payments, student loans etc, I just cannot afford broadband. I mean I could actually afford it, but there are beter ways to spend the money.

      I addition to that, all companies in the area where I
  • by b0r1s (170449) on Friday February 17, 2006 @01:30AM (#14739939) Homepage
    You have to have a reason to require broadband. Websites load slowly with dialup, so that's not a convincing argument. Things like video blogs [vobbo.com] that use online recording through the browser don't work with dialup - while many people won't care about this, a new mom trying to send video of her kids to family members only to see choppy images with no audio may be convinced by such an argument. Some people won't have a killer app, won't upgrade, and - even though I make a living off of high speed networking - I can't say I blame them. Some people just don't need the newest technologies, and likely never will.
    • I'm not sure high speed content is the only reason to switch.

      In my case we had a dedicated phone line for dialup. In Australia they increased the price of monthly line rental to a point where switching to ADSL wasn't that much more expensive than line rental, call cost and ISP charges.

      The fact that it's on 24/7 is a big plus. Even with what they call broadband in Australia it's feasible to share a connection over wireless (try that with 56K!)

      So for me, dowmloads are quicker, certainly. For lower volum

    • I send video clips of the kids to my parents, and they don't even have 56K dial-up. The best they get is 33K, sometimes 41K, but it tends to disconnect. The only other option they have for internet is satellite, and there's no way they'll pay for that.

      Open up email before going to bed, click on the URLs to save them, and go to sleep. Watch videos in the morning when drinking coffee.

      I have cable internet, and while it's nice, I could get along just fine with dial-up for home use. If money gets tight, the
    • by matt21811 (830841) on Friday February 17, 2006 @04:54AM (#14740657) Homepage
      The killer app is the same as it is always has been since the invention of the internet.

      Pornography.

  • by binkzz (779594) on Friday February 17, 2006 @01:32AM (#14739948) Journal
    is that once you try it, you can not go back to dialup.

    If you haven't had broadband yet and only dialup, upgrading doesn't seem necessary. But once you've experienced the speed of broadband and the convenience of not having to dial up and log in, you'll never want to go back.
    • by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Friday February 17, 2006 @02:12AM (#14740150) Homepage Journal
      Or to put it another way: you get addicted to the porn.
    • I did go back... to slow (30 kB/s) "broadband DSL" at $25/month. It all happened when Comcast came to town and jacked up broadband and cable, while offering a *package* deal.

      So, having ditched real broadband and cable, I just don't miss it. That's as simple as it can be said. For a basic package, it'd be an extra $1000 per year. Honestly, the money isn't even that important, but anything that lures me to watch more TV and use the Internet even more would not make me happier.

      So I'm curious... now tha

      • 30 KB/s is still ten times faster than dial up, plus you're online all day and don't have to wait for the modem to connect.

        I have 8 mbit at the moment, but I hardly use a quarter of it, so I'm probably going to downgrade my connection. I download tv shows, but otherwise I don't really need it either.
    • I agree with you in general except with this:

      "If you haven't had broadband yet and only dialup, upgrading doesn't seem necessary."

      I know it seems like that, but eventually you get to a point where dialup really doesn't cut it anymore. Waiting for that particular financial or banking site that you NEED to use for about 2 minutes (literally) to load starts to grate on your nerves eventually.
    • That's completely not true for a lot of people, and I'm one of them.

      If cable rates get too high, I'll dump them, and go back to dial-up, or just use my cell phone for occasional internet access (tethered to PC).

      I've already dumped all of SBC's services, because they're a bunch of greedy bastards. My local cable company seems to "get it", and offers decent rates for their packages.

      At any rate, I could survive just fine on dial-up. Last time I had it, it was a dial on demand setup for about twenty systems i
    • by bm_luethke (253362) <luethkeb@comca s t .net> on Friday February 17, 2006 @04:10AM (#14740545)
      My parents fought broadband for years and years even though the accessed some work related stuff through the interenet (subdivision maps, deeds, and some other documents from the local court house). The never could see why there was any reason to pay 55 dollars a month plus, because of the wiring in the house not being available, a wireless access point and card.

      I told them time after time that the map that took them 15 minutes to load would be nearly instant (comcast has 8mbit down here). One day thier modem finally kicked the bucket and I needed a new wireless switch/card so I made them a deal - purchase the one I want, try broadband for a month and if you do not like it I will buy the card/switch. At the end of the first day my father ask "Why didn't we ever use this before - I saved over an hour of time in *one* day!". Of course, I had to be that smart ass son and pointed out I've said that for about two years now :) They can not stand to use dialup any more - it's amusing to hear dad telling someone to go look at some funny video he found.

      For them "price" would have been listed as a reason, though mostly because telling them how much faster doesn't make sense - for most it has to be something used and internally felt. I suspect that, as you said, the largest portion of those that say they don't need it would suddenly not be able to live without once they used it some. I've never driven a Ferrari and can't really imagine how it feels, many have never used broadband and can't raelly comprehend how much faster things happen.
  • by ackthpt (218170) * on Friday February 17, 2006 @01:32AM (#14739949) Homepage Journal

    I'm still on dial-up, as I have been for the last 8 years (at this address.) I see offers come and go, but they still boil down to an eventual rate of about $50/mo. I only need that speed now and then and it's hard to justify.

    It's about the same with me as it has been with cell phones. I've had those 3 different times and always cancelled because I was shelling $35+/month and using the phone for less than 10 minutes a month. Only when seeking a new job or apartment do they seem genuinely necessary. I've got a pay-as-you-go plan now and I used about 20 minutes a month for each of December and January, so this is much more to my liking of ~$10/month. For service.

    I'd like high speed for downloading Microsoft's bloated patches (why are these things always 15 MB? for a "few" fixes?) or the latest virus scan patterns (again, why are these things 5-10 MB?) Seems there's always a hell of a lot more than seems necessary, but I suppose developers of today didn't grow up trying to maximize 8K and could care less how much shit is in things as it's not their problem. For the most part, I get by and that's all I need.

    • i used to do the same thing. i had broadband for a few months back in 99, then didn't get again after i moved. i spent a lot of time at work anyway (a university) so i did my downloading there. i didn't work from home, and not having good access at home forced/let me do other things with my time. it wasn't a bad thing at the time. not being able to work from home might be a plus in some peoples' book. of course now that i do have it, i end up working from home a lot and i spend a lot of time online in gener
  • Too expensive? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NerveGas (168686) on Friday February 17, 2006 @01:32AM (#14739951)

        It's all a matter of priorities. I'll bet that of those people not willing to pay $25 or $30 for entry-level broadband, a good portion of them spend $50, $60, or more on cable or satellite TV.

    steve
  • by Bananatree3 (872975) on Friday February 17, 2006 @01:33AM (#14739960)
    14.4k was for the rich, and we were lucky enough to even own a computer! Harrumph, these techie-wizbang whipper snappers...downloading everything in sight, always wanting things FASTER and FASTER!. Harrumph I say.
    • My first modem was 300 baud. It was an acoustic coupler, so you had to strap it to your phone. But it was good enough for bulletin boards. I thought I had it made when I upgraded to 2400baud!
    • 14.4k was for the rich, and we were lucky enough to even own a computer

      Luxury! We only had an abacus each, which we tried together with string!
    • by plaxion (98397) on Friday February 17, 2006 @03:25AM (#14740408)
      pffft! In my day 1200 baud modems were for the rich, 300 baud Hayes were for the upper middle class and the rest of us tapped out binary on tins cans that were strung together. The original PPP (Peasant to Peasant Protocol) specification used to be one tap for 1 and no taps for 0, but after the great flame war that ensued when Timmy mistook Dan's message as being a derogitory comment about his sister, PPPv2 was developed and one tap meant 0 and a quick double tap meant 1. Fortunately for us, it was only a software upgrade as Cambell's coupons were scare back then.
  • Too expensive? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 1point618 (919730) on Friday February 17, 2006 @01:36AM (#14739970)
    I'm from semi-rural Alaska (though I go to college in New England), and in my neck of the woods, it's usually cheaper to get broadband access. There are a couple of phone companies who service the area, and if you catch one of them at the right time with the right promotion, you can get DSL + new phone service, or cable + cable modem, at the same price as dial up, or maybe slightly more. My family did this, if only so that we could be online at any time without tying up the phone lines. That's what was the most painful about dial up, not being able to use the phone at the same time. Long download times are a pain, but can be delt with; missed phone calls cannot.

    We recently got DSL access to my house, and as soon as the option was there took it, since they were only letting a few households from the area on at the time. However, now that I'm out of the house, I think the only good thing about my family having DSL is the phone issue: otherwise, we have a lot of bandwidth going unused. But at least when my dad "screws up the internet," I can call and walk him through getting it working without having to hang up every time he wants to check to make sure it works.
  • Why, broadband will be a thing of the past when wireless neuro-implants are in place! Why go to a clunky machine when you could can simply download everything to your head?
  • by Animats (122034) on Friday February 17, 2006 @01:38AM (#14739984) Homepage
    With ad blocking, dialup can be faster than low-end broadband with ads. Well over half of bandwidth is consumed by ads.

    Sites that work just fine at 56K:

    • Google
    • eBay
    • Slashdot
    • Fandango (movie tickets)
    • FedEx
    • Digi-Key
    • Craigslist
    • Yahoo

    The primary use of broadband is to deliver ads. At the consumer's expense. No wonder 30% of users don't want it.

    • eBay

      eBay is rather annoying, though, as when you need to login it can take a while because they keep accessing your cookies.

    • You're right - for the most part. But there are legitimate uses of large media files that don't include advertising. Go ahead - try to send video of your newborn baby to your relatives across the country using 56k. You can do it in real time with good quality for the cost of a $25 webcam and broadband - 56k is impossible, and non-internet options start getting really, really expensive.
      • by tepples (727027)

        Go ahead - try to send video of your newborn baby to your relatives across the country using 56k.

        First step is using 56k to go to usps.com to look up shipping rates. Second step is using 56k to go to froogle.google.com to look up prices for DVD-R or DVD+R media. If it's that important, and getting broadband to your home would involve a $100,000 setup fee to move from the country to the city because of the real estate price difference, then mailing DVDs is cheaper than getting broadband to your home. If

    • bullshit

      Internet radio is basically useless without broadband (128kbit mp3s, the standard, cannot be streamed on a 56k connection)

      internet video is basically useless without broadband

      uploading/downloading is horrible on dial-up, even stuff like windows patches or linux kernal updates can take hours

      bittorrent? I don't think so

      gaming? out of the question

      dial-up is basically only useful for casual browsing and email/IM... You cannot really enjoy the net without it.. I'm glad I have my 10mbit cable connection e

      • > gaming? out of the question

        This is actually reasonably OK on ISDN lines in Europe (at least for Quake).
      • Internet radio is basically useless without broadband (128kbit mp3s, the standard, cannot be streamed on a 56k connection)

        http://www.di.fm/ [www.di.fm]

        Ah, 24kbit/s AAC streams, and they don't sound too bad.

        internet video is basically useless without broadband

        Streamed ABC's video feeds during 9/11 over 56K modem link to a 32" TV in the conference room all day long. Had audio, even. Amazing what compression does these days.

        uploading/downloading is horrible on dial-up, even stuff like windows patches or linux kerna

    • Huh?? This is modded insightful?

      As others have pointed out ad blockers work with broadband too.

      If you play computer games, watch videos, download music you generally find dialup isn't usable to grab some of those huge files. A 600Mb game update or a 70Meg video clip isn't going to be 50% ads, even when you consider all the clicking you might need to do to grab it.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The primary use of broadband is to deliver ads. At the consumer's expense.

      And porn. Porn and ads. Ads and porn.

      The two main uses of broadband are to deliver ads and porn. And torrents of pirated videos. The *THREE* main uses of broadband are for copying torrents, watching porn, delivering ads, and shopping for geeky bargains on Newegg.

      The four.. no, Our four... no, of the four... no... amongst the four.... no, amongst the primary uses of the internet are such elements as...

      I'll come in again...

    • No, the primary use of broadband is to download questionable or large files fast. Everything I actually do with the web would be fine on 56k, but when the next ubuntu hits, and I'm in the mood for some apt-get action, only cable will do. Most people are just becoming used to it. They get it at home because ebay is so much faster at work. Or when they were in the dorms, the latest cam divxs were so much easier to get.
    • by MarkByers (770551) on Friday February 17, 2006 @02:37AM (#14740242) Homepage Journal

      Sites that work just fine at 56K:

              * Google
              * eBay
              * Slashdot
              * Fandango (movie tickets)
              * FedEx
              * Digi-Key
              * Craigslist
              * Yahoo


      Only 8 sites? No wonder so many people are switching to broadband.
    • Or better, don't use ANY graphics. Just surf without graphic if you just need non-pictorial information.
    • with dialup... the lions share of the bandwidth is eaten up downloading updates from microsoft behind your back...
  • by Tablizer (95088) on Friday February 17, 2006 @01:44AM (#14740018) Homepage Journal
    The reason for the lackluster demand is that animated gifs make perfectly good porn. Most porn is just back and forth movements of the same kind over and over. Animated gifs can repeat the same 10 frames over and over for the same effect. What is needed is to transform people into a species that has more varied sexual movements, such as figure 8's that morph into W's, etc. Butterflies have the right idea; they do it in the air in a frenzied dizzy kind of sky dance (although JavaScript may be able to mimic this without lots of frames). As usual, the real problem is the damned humans. Until the marketing department figures this out, they will continue to drive Honda Civics.
  • Why so expensive? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Quirk (36086) on Friday February 17, 2006 @01:47AM (#14740041) Homepage Journal
    Why is broadband so expensive in the U.S.?

    In Canada I get broadband and +70 TV channels for 80 looney Canadian dollars a month. Posters from other countries like Korea, Japan and some European countries have posted in the past about how, relative to U.S. rates, broadband cable is cheap in their respective countries.

    So what's up south of the border?

    • So what's up south of the border?

      Free market! How dare you suggest we aren't getting the best of the best service! Why, I can get a cell phone plan in the States for $30/month + $10/month in extra fees. I go to Europe and they pay 10-Euros/month.

      Those communist fools!

      And someone slipped me a Canadian nickel today...
    • Re:Why so expensive? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770)
      That sounds about on par with what you'd pay here. For expanded basic cable, which is soemwhere in the 60-80 channel range, and cable modem service it's like $60-70USD per month. That's about $70-80CAD.

      Generally the really expensive broadband stories come from people that live in small towns, which the US has a lot of. An amazing amount of people here live in small, rural communities. Well, usually there's not a lot of infastructure out there, so you end up needing something that's pretty expensive like IDS
    • by nwbvt (768631)
      "In Canada I get broadband and +70 TV channels for 80 looney Canadian dollars a month."

      Thats what, about $70 in US dollars? Thats about what it would cost around here. Thats a lot of money for some people.

  • Price drop (Score:5, Informative)

    by evilviper (135110) on Friday February 17, 2006 @01:48AM (#14740043) Journal
    Price was an issue until just recently. SBC/ATT dropped to $13, and Verizon dropped to $15/mo. That's less than large ISPs (Earthlink, MSN, AOL) are charging for dial-up, and only slightly more than most others (Netzero, Juno, etc) with crappy dial-up service and software.

    The only excuse now is if you travel a lot, and need access all across the country.
    • Unfortunately the service from Verizon and SBC tends to be crap, too.

      I have Comcast -- my biggest problem is the slow upload in our region. In some regions you can pay extra to have a higher upload rate. Since I regularly transfer files from my workstation to other internet hosts I really find the 300kbps upload to be atrociously slow.
      • I would have to agree. Low priced "high speed" internet just inst much better then dial up. Verizon and SBC and Comcast all suck. And thats why I end up spending more to get real service.
        • Well, Comcast for me has been excellent downstream and the latency is pretty good. Sadly, while I won't stoop as low as Verizon DSL I can't afford a better option than the comcast right now.
      • I have Verizon myself, and the DSL service is just as good as anywhere else. A bit of downtime now and then, and absolutely terrible technical support, but speeds are exactly what they promise.

        Verizon gives you 768 Kbps / 128 Kbps for $15/mo, which you can't possibly claim is anywhere near as good as even the best dial-up service. Not only bandwidth that's about 20X faster, but latency that is far, far, far lower.
  • by dotpavan (829804)
    Another 5% aren't even sure why they don't have it..."

    those must be the confused teenager!

    and as regards to the high prices of net via cable, me and my friends play an evil game.. we live in 3 apartments and keep utilizing the Comcast promotional offer of $19.99/month for a semester, then change the address.. and then when the cycle repeats, we change the name of the person in that apartment.. the low price comes with little slow speed (sharing), still a good internet experience for the price we pay.. a

  • by ThomK (194273) on Friday February 17, 2006 @01:54AM (#14740073) Homepage Journal
    Repeat [slashdot.org], 2 years in the making.

    Also: I don't know what all the bitching is about (from the old story): Even President Bush jumped into the fray last month, calling for affordable, universal high-speed access by 2007.

    I mean he *CALLED* for it people, and it's just one year away.
  • My observation (Score:2, Interesting)

    by devphaeton (695736)
    As someone who works for an ISP that offers both dialup and broadband services---

    98% of people who want or have broadband don't need it. They check their email twice a week and/or look at weather or news sites once in awhile.

    75% of people who *have* broadband assume everyone else does and sends email with attached 150mb video files of their kids' snowball fight, with 200 accumulated addresses in the CC field. They also average to circulate about 130 "FW:FW:FW:RE:FW:FW:FUNNY!:FW:FW:FW:RE:FW:FW:RE:HAH A!:FW
    • Oh, and fwiw...

      While typing up my response, I was CVSup'ing my FreeBSD ports on this machine, and doing an apt-get dist upgrade on the k6-II next to me. Not to mention pulling down the latest headers in alt.binaries.multimedia.ero... oh..wait.. nm that...

      Gotta love it. ;-)

  • ... it IS too expensive. Broadband is overpriced, when priced normally, in most areas. And before anyone says that it's the fair market value--I think the proof is in the pudding: the fact that so many Americans don't buy into it means the price could do with a little dropping (or maybe a little more competition?)

    I try to ride the sign-up specials between DSL and Cable, but I don't blame most people for not wanting to put up with that.
  • by Statecraftsman (718862) on Friday February 17, 2006 @02:26AM (#14740202) Homepage
    I need broadband because I'm used to it and I don't want to waste my time with dialup. For many, who don't use the internet for their jobs and don't see how the cost can be offset by the supposed benefits, it's hard to justify spending another $20 or more for broadband. Maybe we just need to get everyone an "earn a fortune with your ebay business" package they'll subscribe in due course.
  • I Want My MTV (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Doc Ruby (173196)
    The normals don't want "broadband". Just like they don't want "cable". They want sports shows, movies, cooking shows, 24 hour news rotations. Cable is just a means to an end. They didn't want "the Internet", either, or even "the Web" - just email, porn, or whatever their personal favorite websites happen to be. When broadband is a necessary means to some end, some killer app, they'll want broadband.

    Markets are driven by consumer demand, not by producer supply.
  • I still use dialup and have watched as many web sites have become completely unusable, due to 500k flash files needed just to navigate around. Furthermore, web site designers seem to have completely forgotten about dialup users -- Yahoo mail for example refocuses the cursor on the username login box AFTER it loads tons of stuff. The end result is that if you use dialup that might be 30 seconds after the page started loading... viola, you are typing elsewhere and the focus is suddenly stolen from you and you
  • by zakezuke (229119) on Friday February 17, 2006 @02:49AM (#14740287)
    I know it's hard for the /. crowd to understand because network is typicaly more simple to jack into than dialup. It's this whole PPPoE thing sold by the likes of Earthlink and other ISPs or worse yet AOL Broadband that gives the impression of something rather complex that makes broadband so much so less attractive, esp AOL with slow DNS servers that make the net look like "the slug.

  • People don't get broadband because they don't understand the benefits until they have used it.

    I remember when microwaves first came out. My mother's friend said they were great. When asked what she did with it the friend said that she heated up coffee, cooked hot dogs, warmed up some food. My mother couldn't see how that would be useful for her. She doesn't drink coffe and the stove is just fine for the other two. Of course a couple years later after finally getting a microwave it has become an essential

  • there were news articles up the week of Thanksgiving about how online purchases the workday after thanksgiving were expected to jump because people were waiting to order things on their workplace's broadband line.

    this tells me one thing - lots of people wont pay for a connection when they can get what they need done on somebody else's network...

  • by Vo0k (760020) on Friday February 17, 2006 @03:25AM (#14740409) Journal
    45% of Americans say it's simply too expensive.
    30% say that they just don't want it.
    14% say they feel dial-up is adequate for their needs.
    10% are not able to get broadband access in their area.
    05% percent insist broadband is "too complicated".
    05% aren't even sure why they don't have it..."
    ===
    109% of all statistics are made up on the spot.
    • by Sentry21 (8183)
      That's nothing, these are just the reasons quoted in the writeup. The actual statistics from the article add up to 141.18%. I can understand being 2% off maybe, due to rounding, but I can't see any reason for a rounding error of 41.18%.
  • by pedestrian crossing (802349) on Friday February 17, 2006 @05:40AM (#14740794) Homepage Journal

    Keeping your OS (at least Windows or Linux) up to date and patched pretty much *requires* broadband. I think that's the reason there are a lot of vulnerable machines out there.

    I have asked several people who are still on dial-up how they keep their systems up to date, and every one of them has said that they "turned that damn update thing off!" because it was so annoying and made it impossible to do anything useful.

    Unless you are geeky enough to care about patching and manage your limited dial-up bandwidth, you are not going to update over a dial-up.

    When I was still on dial-up, I compared the cost of keeping a Debian system up to date over the dial-up to the cost of DSL, and it was a wash. That's what motivated me to get broadband, it cost the same as far as keeping my system updated, and I could use it for the rest of the month at no extra cost.

    But most folks don't care about staying updated, so they see no need for broadband.

  • Like money (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Bombula (670389) on Friday February 17, 2006 @06:58AM (#14740968)
    Broadband is like money. Anyone who says it isn't important has never had enough of it.

    If you've had access to a connection with real bandwidth - something like the 1Gbit connections you get in good university computer labs - then you know what the internet can really be like: every loads instantly, videos play with no buffering or delay, 10Mb downloads take a couple of seconds, latency for gaming hovers around 20ms, and so on. But if all you've had is Earthlink or AOL DSL (which is NOT always on, but instead basically dials up via PPPOE on demand), then you've never really experienced broadband at all.

  • Socialist approach (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tacocat (527354) <tallison1NO@SPAMtwmi.rr.com> on Friday February 17, 2006 @07:53AM (#14741082)

    I said over ten years ago that the most important thing that the US government could have done is to socialize the internet connectivity across the country the same way that they have socialized asphalt connectivity by means of Interstate highway systems circa 1930-1940.

    Same kind of approach plays in with the Post Office. Everyone gets mail delivery no matter how remote or how dense the population. Not all mail is gauranteed delivered in 3 days but it's delivered.

    I think we, as a nation, could have done well to take that stance that everyone will at least have a standardized connection to their homes such that everyone has the capability of getting a modest DSL like connection into their home for a fixed fee (with no trimmings) much like you have garbage collection fees or road maintenance fees from the local government.

    What the individual decides to do after this, higher bandwidth, ISP services like portals and email.. can all be managed in the consumer market. But at least you have the road available.

    This country experienced huge changes economically and socially as the result of the US Highway infrastructure. I believe that creating an analogy of an internet infrastructure would cause the same kind of impact on this nation. Right now we don't have such a mechanism. The growth of internet businesses and society is at a strangehold based on what you can afford to pay. It's economically restricted.

    Hate to sound like a socialist, but sometimes I think there are some things that can be considered best if socialized.

  • Meanwhile in Japan (Score:4, Informative)

    by kilodelta (843627) on Friday February 17, 2006 @09:29AM (#14741416) Homepage
    NTT provides broadband access for a fraction of the price that we get it for in the U.S.

    Maybe that has something to do with the fact that Japan was essentially reduced to mostly rubble 60 years ago while we in the U.S. deal with OSP that is both that age and has never been properly maintained.

    But here is a good example of why most people don't get even DSL. I'll present two cases here, the first my own, the second that of a relative in the same state.

    Verizon said that I was too far from the central office to get DSL. "That's funny" said I since I could basically throw rocks at the central office.

    Did two go arounds on this until finally I got the bright idea to call repair and get them to do an MLT. Sure enough, MLT said I was less than half a mile from the CO. I asked repair to enter the distance into my customer record and then called Verizon DSL back. Lo and behold - I now qualified.

    In my aunts case, the home had DSL before she bought it and the previous subscriber had the line disconnected. When my aunt tried to get DSL installed she was told by Verizon that they she was too far out. I told her to use the trick I'd discovered and sure enough, two weeks later she had here DSL.

    I've since ditched Verizon entirely but this demonstrates that in the case of DSL, if you don't know how the system works, you're screwed.
  • by John Hasler (414242) on Friday February 17, 2006 @10:22AM (#14741754) Homepage
    > Another 5% aren't even sure why they don't have it..."

    What about the ones who think they have it but don't, and the ones who don't think they have it but do?

IF I HAD A MINE SHAFT, I don't think I would just abandon it. There's got to be a better way. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.

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