AOL on Friday revealed that 2.1 million people in the U.S. still subscribe to its dial-up service, an astonishing and surprising number in the year 2015. A large majority of Americans have ditched the comatose service as faster broadband has become more accessible. But, either through ignorance, stubbornness, or sheer unavailability in certain areas, people are still clinging to the good old days of the early Internet.
Back in 2010, AOL revealed it had about 4.6 million dial-up users, so usage is on the decline, but it’s a slow, slow process, not unlike the service these people still get.
CNN Money notes that over 70-percent of Americans are connected through faster broadband, with an average speed of 11.4 Mbps, which is lighting quick compared to AOL’s 56k speeds. Compared to what the Internet looked like 20 years ago, 56k connections probably wouldn’t even be able to load a modern day website, much less stream a video on YouTube or Netflix.
Without fast Internet, online tech journalism just wouldn’t exist in the way it does today. And there would be no Twitch or Spotify. It would be a cruel, apocalyptic world.
The most shocking thing of all? Customers are paying AOL $20 a month for dial-up access, which means the company is still making a killing each year from these subscriptions. If you or someone you know is still using dial-up, it might be time for an intervention.
I get it: not everyone can afford broadband Internet, and there’s a minuscule chance they don’t have access to the faster speeds in their remote part of the wilderness. But 2.1 million is a hefty figure, and so long as people subscribe, AOL will continue to be an enduring time capsule of despair.