Earlier this week BT brought the curtain down on dial up internet; marking the end of the connectivity technology that many of us enjoyed our nascent furrows on the internet with.
The narrow band technology long since ceased being the preferred choice of internet access, and according to BT only a ‘tiny’ number of people (thought to be around 100,000) still used the service prior to termination.
The technology remains most distinguishable and memorable for the fitful, electronic screeching it made when attempting to establish a connection. It’s a sound that, despite being incredibly offensive to one’s ear, will no doubt elicit a sense of nostalgia in some corners for the days of a freer, less intrusive, if not much slower internet. The noise of course represented one of the fundamental draw backs of the technology, not just because of its strangled, robotic concerto, but rather because it had to connect and disconnect at the start and end of every session. Unless you had a dedicated line for internet those dial up sessions would have also come at the sacrifice of your home telephone service (as the two couldn't be used simultaneously over the same PSTN) which I’d hazard a guess was one of the number one causes of fickle family feuding in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.
While most of us now enjoy the benefits of faster broadband, for an unfortunate few dial up remains the best service on offer. Remote locations in rural Britain suffer from being too far from the local telephone exchange to obtain a reliable broadband connection. Fears that these users would be left without connection though were softened by BT who confirmed that subsidiary ISP, PlusNet, would be able to provide a comparative ‘narrowband’ service.
Hopefully the continued roll out of 4G services across the UK, along with government funded BDUK projects; will mean that those who can still hear that screeching ringing in their ears won’t have to wait too long for a superior service.