Has the world of dial-up Internet access changed that much?
“Elvis has left the building!” AOL has announced that it is exiting the dial-up Internet market outside the United States and that it is no longer seeking new dial-up accounts in the US. Part of that announcement was the announced layoff of a huge number of customer service people (the ones that try to get you to keep the account you want to cancel, I assume) along with announcing that they expect to lose 1/3 of their current subscriber base. That’s ok with AOL, though, because it has been making a lot of money from all the ads it delivers.
As incentive to continue to use AOL’s services, AOL is making the AOL content free for anyone on the Internet to access, without even paying a monthly fee to AOL.
In my opinion, that still will not get non-AOL users to use AOL’s content.
If you’ve ever used AOL, you know that AOL users are used to being hammered with on-screen ads and pop-up ads, too. Non-AOL users just won’t put up with that kind of treatment…
The other dial-up service companies are ecstatic at AOL’s change. Some even advertise "switch to us and keep your AOL email address," which you could do no matter where which Internet Service Provider to whom you switch.
The battle now is between companies like NetZero and PeoplePC and their competitors. It’s a world of price competition and free (included) add-on’s like anti-virus programs.
NetZero offers free 10-hour per month dialup accounts as well as $9.95/month all-you-can-eat dialup accounts — and even a discount to $6.95/month if you pre-purchase a year’s service with them.
I remember my first dialup account — a mere 2400 bps (2.4Kbps) dialup with a $435 modem. Wow, that was great. Now, I have dialup via my laptop and my wife’s computer has a fax-modem card in it that cost me $16 plus $3 shipping.
My main use for dialup is internet access when I travel. I use my free NetZero account or my BudgetDialup.com account for that. Dialup also is great if your cable modem service goes out. When we had Hurricane Katrina in 2005, I used dialup to connect to my web host and send my newsletter.
Katrina had been past Baton Rouge for about 4 or 5 hours at that point, so we were past the danger — just didn’t have any power. No power meant no cable Internet and no cable TV. That’s why I’ll probably never switch to an Internet-based or Cable-based telephone service.