The Pew Research Center reports that around 3% of American Internet users are still using dial-up services. This does not surprise me in the least. Those with #firstworldproblems complain about not having first enough internet. While parts of the US and some whole counties around the world wish they simply had internet. Dial-up Internet service is necessary and in come cases a blessing. It is not relic of years past. Many Americans this form of getting on the internet is a slow reality. The good news is that the percentage hasn’t change since 2011. Those 3% who still use dial-up are on it because they can not afford faster or it is simply not an option. Rural areas sometimes just don’t offer DSL, FiOS or cable and the prices of satellite connectivity are ridicules. What is sad is that AOL has actually been increasing the prices for dial-up users recently since its customers have nowhere else to go.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg started a new initiative called Internet.org whose goal is to make sure that “anyone, anywhere — a child growing up in rural India who never had a computer — can go to a store, get a phone, get online, and get access to all of the same things that you and I appreciate about the Internet.” However that initiative will not help with what is needed most, infrastructure. Those in the internet.org are investing in something that has the potential to improve the lives but these company are investing for selfish reasons. Getting more people Internet also helps Facebook, of course, since it broadens the company’s potential customer base. Google is investing money to deliver connectivity to rural parts of Africa via balloons for the same reason.