As the largest internet and telephone providers in the UK, British Telecom sustained a dial-up service for many years after the form of connection fell out of vogue. They have recently announced, however, that they will be ending the service, claiming only a “tiny number” of its customers actually use the service.
Only a few providers now offer dial-up internet services, mainly due to the increasing demand for broadband. However, the move may leave many of those working and living in remote, rural areas out in the cold as they don’t have the option to use broadband.
Remote customers left behind
Upon the statement of shutting down the service, BT revealed that around 1,000 customers will be left without internet access as they are unable to move across to broadband due to their remote location.
Speaking to the BBC, a spokesperson discussed the limitations of living and working in remote areas: “They will be too far from the telephone exchange to get any meaningful broadband. The distance means that the broadband signal degrades.”
Sebastian Lehtinen of Think Broadband also commented, saying: “It’s a statement of how mainstream broadband services have become, with entry-level broadband being cheaper than the dial-up plans BT is closing down.”
The good old days
While dial-up and broadband have been around for similar amounts of time, dial-up was once the much more popular choice across British households as a broadband connection was often far too expensive for the majority of homeowners.
However, as access to the internet became massively widespread across the country, the number of households considering other options grew. According to the Daily Mail, 80% of households have internet access, while 93% of those with access choose to use a fixed broadband connection.
Around 5.2 million households did not have internet in the study, with 54% of those answering saying that they “did not need it”.
So what are those left without a dial-up service to do? There are numerous options available to them, some of which are much more affordable and useful than others. BT has presented the option of signing up for the dial-up service offered by Plusnet, but will have to face higher charges in order to do so.
Andrew Walwyn, CEO of EuropaSat, gave the following advice: “For five years we’ve been trying hard to reach the consumers still subject to the drudgery of dial-up, to show them that satellite broadband is the perfect alternative if they can’t get broadband over wires.
“The feedback we’ve had from those we’ve spoken to so far is that they simply didn’t realise that the satellite alternative existed or how fast modern satellite internet solutions are.
“Clearly we want to reach out to these people now BT has decided to abandon the dial-up alternative to let them know we’re here. With so many aspects of modern life dependant on a fast broadband connection, it’s vital that every home and business understands their options”, he said.