Digital life after BT closes down its dial-up internet service
the telecoms company retired its dial-up internet service last weekend
(Sunday, 01 September) citing a lack of usage from its UK customers.
or narrowband, is a technology using aspects of the public switched
telephone network (PSTN) that can be used to establish access to the
internet. This enables users to go online to surf webpages and download
emails before broadband became available. Dial-up users are required to
use a modem (separately or via PCs) to dial a telephone or fax line to
access the internet via an internet service provider (ISP).
broadband became more widely available and more affordable, people in
the UK opted to switch for quicker connections to allow access to richer
data and information at faster speeds. Speaking to UK broadcaster BBC
BT said that a only a small number of its customers used its dial-up
service and informed them first about the service closure in May and
June this year. Shutting down its dial-up service means approximately
1,000 people who live in remote areas would not be able to move to
broadband as their phone line was incapable of supporting the technology
the BBC reports.
It's unknown how many people still use dial-up
in the UK due the growing number people using it less according the UK
regulator Ofcom, although in 2010 it said approximately 800,000 were
Although BT claims that 6.8 million of its broadband
customers had switched to much faster connections, experts believe that
people living in remote rural areas will not be able to access adequate
broadband services now BT is not an option.
"They will be too
far from the telephone exchange to get any meaningful broadband," Oliver
Johnson, chief executive of broadband consultancy Point Topic explained
to the BBC. "The distance means that the broadband signal degrades,"
Those who decide to remain with dial-up would
still be able to get such services from BT via its Plusnet subsidiary.
"No-one is being left without the option of an alternative service,"
said a BT spokesman. Although reporting of BT hanging up on its dial-up
internet services is prominent and its customers were informed earlier
in the year, information explaining the situation on its website is
limited. Its site also appears to still offer guidance on how to still
connect using its dial-up service (at the time of publishing).
associated with slower speeds, connection dropouts and limited access
to many rich content websites that are commonplace today – BT closing
down dial-up maybe seen as inevitable and a sign of times. However, an
important and even a back-up to broadband services by what is seen as a
major UK telecoms player will strike cord with a generation of early
internet adopters. Whether 4G can fill the gap for remote rural areas
and provide a quick enough service as current limited dial-up
alternatives fade away remains to be seen.
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