November 7, 2001
8:05 AM   Subscribe

Dump broadband? *gasp* Well, according to this ZDNet article, it's a movement. With price hikes and a souring economy, some people can't justify the cost. Could you let it go?
posted by hotdoughnutsnow (50 comments total)
No I need it now. Take my water supply ...
posted by walrus at 8:07 AM on November 7, 2001

I'll give you a kidney and half of my liver...
posted by darukaru at 8:08 AM on November 7, 2001

And to think we have a fiber glut already. Broadband has been a huge disappointment, business-wise. But, wait, here's yet another businessperson predicting that broadband will play a key role in boom-times to come!!!

(The quote:

Ever the contrarian, Malone now sees bright times ahead for Silicon Valley. "The next boom is only a couple or three years away," Malone said. "You get 50 million Americans with broadband, and you'll see a boom bigger than the last one.)
posted by mattpfeff at 8:11 AM on November 7, 2001

28.8's just fine for me :D
posted by UncleFes at 8:11 AM on November 7, 2001

don't want it, don't need it. Star-band is down more than it's up lately. any little thing and you loose total signal. all that for what it was costing me to have both Earthlink and AOL.
posted by Katy Action at 8:16 AM on November 7, 2001

Later for that. Take the heat, and I can even do without the grande latte enemas for a while...
posted by adampsyche at 8:16 AM on November 7, 2001

Couldn't get rid of the connection that I have. We pay around $40 Canadian (that's about $25 American) for any of the providers (ADSL/Cable) in the city.

Still tho, people complain - they pay $25 for dialup but can't justify an extra $15 for high-speed "unlimited" access...

(Unlimited = don't set up a _____ server)
posted by Fat Elvis at 8:24 AM on November 7, 2001

You can have my RoadRunner when you pry it from my dead, cold hands.
posted by ColdChef at 8:25 AM on November 7, 2001

I remember noticing this sensation a couple years ago when I got a 21" monitor to replace my 15". The next time I sat down at a 15" after that I felt impoverished and unable to work. Well that's a bit extreme, but it sucked bad where 15" had not sucked at all before. Same thing with broadband. Once in a while I visit a modem-bound friend and wince at the speed. Take my phone but don't take my broadband.
posted by holycola at 8:26 AM on November 7, 2001

I have always desired broadband access, but I can't justify the added cost. I get dialup for free from work, and high-speed (DSL or Cable) costs $50/month these days around here. That's a big differential. Besides, the only thing I would need broadband for would be for downloading music or video or warez, and really, it just takes patience.

Heck, the Episode II trailer (medium size, < one minute, I would guess) only took 30 minutes to download at home last night! What's so bad about that? :)
posted by daveadams at 8:28 AM on November 7, 2001

Note that I have an ultra-fast connection at work, and I have no trouble switching back and forth. Maybe I'm just extra patient or something.
posted by daveadams at 8:28 AM on November 7, 2001

I've been without it for almost two months now, in a transition between living quarters. It's been a test.

I'm still quite willing to pony up the price, because I do so much work on the web. Working with 56k here has been unreliable, but the knowledge that I'd have broadband back in a month has kept me going.

I find it interesting that broadband is still in search of a killer app. SBC's been running commercials here which are only mildly trumping up the benefits; for instance, one includes a little boy trying to kiss a girl, but turning to a website for advice. He rushes home, downloads a tutorial video, but the thing takes forever with 56k. He loses the girl in the end and chucks the computer out the window.

So how does one sell broadband in a cruddy economy? The cancellations indicate that it's not easy.
posted by hijinx at 8:30 AM on November 7, 2001

I have to go back and forth between ultra-cool broadband and dial-up... I have the ethernet Internet connection when I'm at school, dial-up at home. The dial-up is actually free through school, too, so my father hasn't found reason to pay $40 extra for faster access, when most of what he does is not broadband-type stuff: e-mail, a few websites, some message boards...

My mother has cable modem access, but it isn't all that much better, because Charter Communications just freakin sucks.
posted by dagnyscott at 8:30 AM on November 7, 2001

after months and months and months of waiting for anyone to bring broadband to my neighborhood, I am willing to pay upwards of 75 bucks a month for it. and I live in Brooklyn! All of New York City isn't connected!
posted by panopticon at 8:35 AM on November 7, 2001

My RoadRunner was recently down for two weeks. I found myself suddenly visiting long-lost friends I hadn't seen in years--and who "coincidentally" had a high speed connection....
posted by jpoulos at 8:37 AM on November 7, 2001

I had to go cold turkey from my broadband connection when I moved to a small town in rural Kansas. (Yes, it was for a woman, certainly not for the culture!) I have been on the phone with every broadband provider in the tri-state area, to no avail.

I'd gladly pay for the speed if it was available!
posted by Hugh2d2 at 8:38 AM on November 7, 2001

I pay £20 a month for cable broadband (limited to 512kbs d/l and 128kbs u/l). I love it! It's not so much the speed, though that's nice. It's the stability and always-on aspect. I play a bit of online Grand Prix Legends, and I never managed to finish a race with dial-up. I've never yet been unceremoniously dumped out of a race yet with cable. And the phone line isn't used up, which can be important in my house.
posted by salmacis at 8:50 AM on November 7, 2001

My employer picks up the tab for my broadband, but I'd pay for it myself gladly. I would never go back to a dial-up willingly. Luckily I live in a large East Coast metro area with a high concentration of technology industries where home demand won't lag.

The death of broadband is a myth; it's just going through a molting period until AOL-TW and MS control all home user access to the Net from every aspect.
posted by briank at 8:52 AM on November 7, 2001

I don't know what I'd do without my cable modem, as I work from home and do everything via the Net. The idea of dialling up again makes me shjver. I pay 35 pounds ($50?) for the privelege but it's worth it.

I can fully understand people who do most of their surfing at work, or who only look at the Net occassionally, not wanting to sign up. And unfortunately those people are in the majority. I think this broadband content idea is a non-starter. My provider Telewest has a broadband portal here and I think you'll agree it's pretty shite. Information and interaction are the biggest drivers of the Net, not streaming video or gaming.
posted by Summer at 8:56 AM on November 7, 2001

must have broadband. i work from home and without broadband i would not be as productive. i spend my day re-working pages and apps and transferring them back up to the server. besides, i never ever have connection problems (really).
posted by bliss322 at 8:58 AM on November 7, 2001

I had (Verizon) DSL for a year and change, and then jumped to roadrunner, mostly for the fast uplink as well.
RR just bumped up this month to $45 /month and I'm vvery happy with their reliability, feature set and better-than-Verizon tech support and infrastructure.

While I have no intention of falling back to dial up, my situation is inverted in that I have to use dial up at work.

The irony in all this is that much on the Internet is now throttled on the server side of things such that even on a fast connection, load times are no better than 56k (Yahoo is a great example).

In the end, if you remove P2P from my equation, there is really no content (other than pirated content) that justifies the bandwidth and expense. And if Time Warner is able to clear just 5% profit on $45 a month while all this excess (and dark) fiber is out there from a stalled boom, well, I guess it means things will be much cheaper after new players buy all this infrastructure for a song from the current crop of doomed carriers.

Or they can start selling black & white TVs again and we can go back to living like the 1970s when business plans made money happpily ever after.
posted by BentPenguin at 9:09 AM on November 7, 2001

Work from home? No wonder your handle is "bliss"
posted by adampsyche at 9:10 AM on November 7, 2001

> I find it interesting that broadband is still in search of a
> killer app.

And all the shysters out there trying to put more and more fangs into copyright law are making sure that killer app never develops. As they diligently protect their clients from ever losing an atom out of their slice of the pie they're also making sure the pie stays small. I frankly think it's funny -- I love watching corporations shoot their foot.

As for the present question: I have a T1 at work and 56k dialup at home, I don't have the least problem going back and forth, and I haven't the slightest interest in paying more than double for some very moderate (compared to the T1) increase in speed. At home I just check my personal mail and visit low-bandwidth sites. If there's some site that insists I enable java, or download flash or realaudio, or install quicktime so I can watch some dumb .mov file, then as far as I'm concerned that site is broken. Goodbye and I won't be back; whatever you were selling, keep it.
posted by jfuller at 9:11 AM on November 7, 2001

Work from home? No wonder your handle is "bliss"

Yes bliss322 and Summer, how did you make this happen? Enquiring and cubicle-disillusioned minds want to know. But I suppose that is a topic for another thread (hint hint).
posted by gazingus at 9:16 AM on November 7, 2001

Sorry, I'm one of those who use my machines in something other than consumer mode. I currently have five boxen running at home at the moment, three of them at least partially serving some content or otherwise doing something which is "forbidden" by most ISPs. (Linux, OpenBSD, MacOS, and two FreeBSDs, if you're wondering).

I host many mailing lists, do some light-weight webserving, a bit of DNS, etc, and of course happily ssh into my home network from work and have the full freedom to do whatever I want with my computing resources. I don't want to do this on an unstable, non-dedicated line.

Hell, I even took a major speed hit just recently swithing from RR to Speakeasy DSL, just because RR started being bastards and blocking port 80 at the firewall.

But then, I'm more than two standard deviations from the norm, I think.
posted by jammer at 9:29 AM on November 7, 2001

Ain't never gonna give it up...

It's strictly a luxury item at our house, but one we get a lot of use from. Our connection via Bellsouth has been extremely reliable. Maybe because it's part of the phone bill we don't "notice" the cost so much. Can think of other expenses I'd do without before this one.
posted by groundhog at 9:32 AM on November 7, 2001

I find it interesting that broadband is still in search of a killer app.

I thought the killer app for broadband was music sharing, wasn't it? I have seen a number of computer ads over the past 18 months that mentioned it as a benefit to owning an Internet-connected PC. Not anymore, of course.

The problem is that current broadband technology, everything from T1 down to cable/DSL, just isn't fast enough. Most people use the Internet for email and surfing; multimedia content can be impressive but it isn't going to make people pay extra for a high speed connection. Broadband will become a necessity when it supports real time, broadcast-quality digital video.
posted by tranquileye at 9:33 AM on November 7, 2001

I've had DSL from Pacific Bell for almost a year. It's $40/month, but I split it with my roommate, so my share's only $20/month. It's totally worth it to me and I would not like going back to a modem. We've never had any connection problems. Plus, being able to use the phone at the same time I'm surfing the web and not having to wait for the modem to connect (or listen to the modem noise) is worth something to me.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:41 AM on November 7, 2001

Heck, get rid of your phone, not your high-speed access!

If you have a cell phone with free long distance, then pour the $20-$30 savings from not having a land-line into your broadband bill. I did that a few months ago and have no regrets. And I can justify maybe even upping my connection speed.
posted by nstop at 9:44 AM on November 7, 2001

In the end, if you remove P2P from my equation, there is really no content (other than pirated content) that justifies the bandwidth and expense.

For me there are many justifications. I frequently download massive logs from web sites (one site, hosted by a provider who refuses to purge the logs, has a 150 MB and growing log file that I have to download every time I want to analyze stats), pass digital images back and forth (about 5 MB each), download legal updaters and installers (some of them 75 MB or more) for clients and myself, and other, similar downloads. Plus, I'd love to have access to the BBC World Service 24 Hours a day without having it constantly rebuffering. In addition, there's a huge world of legal, freely downloadable media: MP3s, short films, Shockwave, that are logistically inaccessible from a dial-up connection.

I plug the laptop in at school and suck on their big Internet tit, and at one of my jobs there's decent Speakeasy DSL, so I get all the downloading opportunities I need. But I don't have the time to waste at home with dial-up even just for page browsing. It's slow because the dial-in connect speeds I get now indicate degradation on the line. I spend hours a day working online most days; I figure a properly speedy DSL connection can save me about four hours of work a week.

On Friday I expect my Verizon DSL service to be activated. I suspect I will be disappointed, and get nowhere near the throughput that I want (and maybe nowhere near what I need) due to the line degradation, but I am looking forward to it with optimism. As mentioned above, all of Brooklyn is not connected to broadband; my name is on the notification list for RoadRunner.
posted by Mo Nickels at 9:51 AM on November 7, 2001

My RoadRunner connection stays. I get a deal by buying a package which includes my cable service and broadband.

The speed, I can't go back to dial-up. And the ability to just jump on the PC and check e-mail is wonderful. No waiting, just click an icon and there it is.

Nope, not going back... I'll eat bologna on 29 cent a loaf bread before I'd go back to dial up.
posted by benjh at 9:53 AM on November 7, 2001

In Japan, the recent availability of broadband has been a godsend because oddly enough, it's cheaper than dialup. A phone connection will cost you 10 yen per 3 minutes of use, in addition to the 20 bucks base fee (Plus you have to buy or rent rights to the phone line. It cost me $750US to get mine 7 years ago). As of a month ago, I have an unlimited-use ADSL connection for around $40 a month. The only remotely comparable service plan for dialup allows unmetered surfing only between 11pm and 8am for an extra 1800 yen a month. I wouldn't be surprised to see broadband really taking off in the coming months over here.
posted by nikzhowz at 10:01 AM on November 7, 2001

They'll get my cable-modem when they pry it out of my cold, dead hand.
posted by mrmanley at 10:04 AM on November 7, 2001

I was using a T3 connection from mid '98 till the end of '99 at my old college. Then I moved to NYC, well Queens actually. Out here Time Warner took forever to upgrade the cable in my area, the upgrade was done this summer, a full year later than expected. The people in the areas around me had Road Runner in the summer of '00, but for some reason my area had been left in the cold till earlier this year. So I know how you feel panopticon, hang in there :)

We've opted for Time Warner's whole shebang deal, DTV with broadband thrown in, it works out to be only $10 more than what we used to pay before (dialup + phone + cable)
posted by riffola at 10:52 AM on November 7, 2001

I recently went from dialup, then to Roadrunner and now I have DSL. Roadrunner was extremely fast, maybe because nobody in my neck of the woods has it, and DSL has been okay, but not any better speedwise. The only reason I have it is for the static IP.

Working at home, I couldn't go back to dialup. There's nothing more addictive than speed...
posted by swift at 11:09 AM on November 7, 2001

Information and interaction are the biggest drivers of the Net, not streaming video or gaming.

Dur? So you don't want information about nor interaction associated with your video watching choices?

Since I've had broadband I watch streaming video every day over the net. It's thin on the ground right now, but it's growing very fast. Don't think BBC though, think MeFi, Google and Filepile that other place.

Think about having access to all the video content in the world on an as-and-when basis, via recommendations from weblogs, email and intelligent agents.

The question for the next ten years is not whether video will "work" on the net, but whether it will survive outside it. The cable companies want to restrict your schedule and lock you in, but nature abhors a vacuum.

Think about TiVo on steroids ...
posted by walrus at 11:17 AM on November 7, 2001

i'm an illustrator and my office is at home. i aboslutely need a fat pipe: my files are usually around 80MB when they get FTP'd to clients. try stuffing that up a 56K pipe.

i've been using friends' connections to ship my work up until now: installation happens in my house this weekend. i'm dumping the land phone line instead. the money's the same.
posted by patricking at 11:34 AM on November 7, 2001

Could you let it go?

Never. Ever. Not under any circumstances. No.
posted by rushmc at 12:56 PM on November 7, 2001

The cable modem has gotten me thinking about getting a T1 at home. I run all my site prototypes from a server attached to the cable (with authentication so the cable company won't complain.)

I could save some money on ISP costs by bringing the bandwidth in-house (literally.) Network redundancy, power backup and server administration are the only downsides.

Basically, I haven't made the change because "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." If this changes, I'll be on a T1.
posted by Chief Typist at 1:09 PM on November 7, 2001

Nooooo...don't take my DSL away.
posted by abosio at 1:09 PM on November 7, 2001

What is the going rate for DSL? And a cable modem? Seems to be about a $15 premium over AOL. I guess that's worth it (assuming my math is correct). But really, for 95% of the population, dialup is perfectly fine.

Is there a consensus as to whether current prices for DSL/Cable are loss leaders, or are the companies making money at these rates?
posted by ParisParamus at 1:32 PM on November 7, 2001

There's no chance I would willingly give up broadband.
posted by SiW at 1:39 PM on November 7, 2001

It's worth it for the speed of software downloads...the Mac 9.2 OS update was around 85MB. With DSL it took 15 minutes! But I'm still in the sparkly-eyed honeymoon phase, maybe I'll grow disenchanted...
posted by kittyloop at 1:44 PM on November 7, 2001

I'm moving out in a few weeks, and will have to say goodbye to my sweet DSL connection (2mb/1mb). It cost me $100/month, yet by cancelling TV/Phone/and err...other subscriptions, I've more than made up for the justification.

posted by samsara at 1:52 PM on November 7, 2001

Once you go broadband you can't go back. I will stay in school for a few extra years if it means I have access to the T3s in the computer labs.
posted by catatonic at 2:11 PM on November 7, 2001

All of the homes in the area surrounding my apartment have DSL available, but not the apartment complex. I have written/phoned my phone company to the point of exhaustion. I have printed out signs and taped them to the front door of the local phone office for the past year. They still can't tell me when or if it will ever be made available to tenants in the apartments.

At this point, I'd be willing to pay nearly anything for high speed access. My wife and I have our computers networked and so neither one of us can do anything intensive at the same time. Plus she plays Everquest, which means I have to get up early in the morning to download anything.
posted by at 2:19 PM on November 7, 2001

Interistingly enough, I just received notification (today) that my monthly TWCNYC Roadrunner access will increase from $40/month to $45/month effective Dec. 1.

I wonder if it's justified - meaning they've been losing money on the service - or whether the decision is pure greed, knowing that with DSL pretty much in a shambles, they're the only game in town.

Fortunately, earlier today but prior to receiving this notification I convinced my company to pay the bill for me.
posted by Sinner at 3:58 PM on November 7, 2001

I have had an AT&T cable modem for the last year and a half an have always been very very happy with it. Like Summer and Bliss, I work from home, and the idea of making it happen without a high speed connection makes me want to cry.

Since I live by myself, I've skipped the land line/dial up thang all together: I have my cable modem and my cell phone. And let me tell you: it's cheap. $70 a month total for both phone (long distance included!) and high speed internet.
posted by arielmeadow at 5:01 PM on November 7, 2001

Modems will not cut it for me. I would rather not use the web at all if I had to do it over a modem. I have served my time with modems and I am not going back.

Of course, I am also willing to not have any internet access at home; I did that for about seven months before getting DSL again in May. But I live in a big city with a lot of internet cafés; it might not be as practical elsewhere.

Frankly this article seems like somebody tried to cobble up a trend out of nothing. So what, we're in a recession! Everything is going to shrink. This article is about as sensible as claiming, based on a report that new car sales are down, that people are starting to reject automobiles and go back to walking and public transit. Uh uh. It's just a recession. When it ends, money spent on expensive things will once again increase.

posted by Mars Saxman at 5:28 PM on November 7, 2001

Yes bliss322 and Summer, how did you make this happen? Enquiring and cubicle-disillusioned minds want to know

Well it's quite simple. First you get laid off, then you fail to get another job, then you are forced to go freelance. It could happen to you too. Simply go and work for a web site unable to make a profit.
posted by Summer at 9:00 AM on November 8, 2001

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