Across the pond, a British telecommunications company has proven its technological hipness and forward-thinking-ness by simply turning off its dial-up Internet service.
Because if you’re not using high-speed broadband, then, well, you just don’t deserve to have Internet at all.
According to the BBC, major telecom company BT celebrated the start of September by permanently shutting down its dial-up service on the first of the month, claiming that the majority of its 6.8 million customers had already switched to higher-speed options anyway.
Sadly, what’s left behind is a teensy little thousand-person minority: people in some seriously rural corners of the U.K. who, once reliant on dial-up modems because their phone lines couldn’t support anything faster, are now without any Internet connection whatsoever. Sorry, mates.
“They will be too far from the telephone exchange to get any meaningful broadband,” Oliver Johnson, chief executive of broadband consulting firm Point Topic, told the BBC. “The distance means that the broadband signal degrades.”
And though it’s tempting to think that rural communities will be A-O.K. without Internet—they spend all their time riding horses and stuff, right?!—that simply isn’t the case.
“Fast, reliable, affordable broadband is essential for rural communities,” U.S. Agriculture Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager said in November, in a bid to expand broadband services in America’s rural communities. “It helps businesses remain competitive in the national and global marketplace, and it helps residents have access to the same goods and services as people in metropolitan areas.”
Thankfully, BT has reportedly said, “No one is being left without the option of an alternative service,” indicating that rural customers could still get dial-up service from its subsidiary company, Plusnet.
Still, there’s no doubting that dial-up is soon to be a complete thing of the past. Studies show that in the U.S. only 3 percent of people still use dial-up Internet. In the U.K., the number is even lower.
As Think Broadband’s Sebastian Lahtinen told the BBC, “It’s a statement of how mainstream broadband services have become, with entry-level broadband being cheaper than the dial-up plans BT is closing down.”