My parents live in the mountains of North Carolina. My mom is an avid e-mailer, but does not really utilize the Internet. This is because until today she was on dial-up. That’s right. My 71-year-old mom got broadband today for the first time (DSL from BellSouth). She doesn’t do too much more other than send e-mail because it takes way too long to download anything. She was a victim of the world wide wait. I’ve been insisting that she get broadband for awhile and that her life would change because of this. I think that she will appreciate having it on all the time as much as the speed. “Don’t use the phone, I’m going to send some e-mails” was a common phrase during my visits. No more.
She doesn’t have a choice of who she can get broadband FROM, however. There is no cable service and satellite broadband is not really an option. I hope that her DSL provider stays true to its pricing, but one of the main reason she is moving to broadband is because her dial-up costs were running $30 a month above her ISP cost because she is out of the service area for the AOL number she can call-in to.
I hope that my dad learns that he can check his stocks rather than waiting for the next day’s Wall Street Journal, among many other things he can do online. He is a bargain hound and with broadband perhaps he will be unleashed on the worldwide bargain market. He’s always trying to push off old books or vintage magazines or furniture or, or, or, etc. on my brothers and me -- perhaps he will discover e-Bay and find a market outside of the Earnhardt boys.
I also hope that their DSL speeds are such that they can truly see a difference -- let’s hope that they are in the 1Mbps range. The FCC’s definition of broadband of 256k is not much more than fast dial-up and might not make a demonstrable difference to them other than a steady price to point to each month.
So, let’s all pause as we chalk up one more household to the broadband universe.