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BT Prepares To Pull Plug On Dial-Up

timothy posted about 8 months ago | from the for-soothing-modem-noise-press-1 dept.

United Kingdom 120

judgecorp writes "BT has proudly announced it will switch off its dial-up service on 1 September. But it turns out it isn't the end of the line for dial-up modems in the UK. BT charges £17.25 per month for dial-up, and broadband is only £10, so anyone who can switch across probably has by now. There are areas where broadband is not available, and BT reckons it still has 1000 dial-up customers who can't move to ADSL. For them, BT recommends a switch to Plusnet — an ISP which offers cheaper dial-up prices and is owned by .... BT."

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120 comments

How to simulate dialup (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44722553)

Web designers who want to get a sense of what their web site feels like on dialup can download thttpd [acme.com] which supports bandwidth limiting; 5 kilobytes a second is a reasonable simulation of a dialup connection.

Re:How to simulate dialup (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44722557)

5 kilobytes/sec is FAST for dialup, try 3.22 for typical connection speeds (26400 bps).
Believe it or not, several games are playable at that data rate.

Re: How to simulate dialup (5, Funny)

exxaminer (3020721) | about 8 months ago | (#44722641)

Yeah...chess..:-)

Re: How to simulate dialup (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44723271)

Quake 3 Arena.
Latency of dialup is as low as 180 ms.
Sometimes that's better than 3g.

ISDN is better than either on latency - sub 30 ms and could be considered "dialup" since you do need a phone number to connect.
Bonus for ISDN - answering machine to MP3, recording calls, automated redial so fast you can disable any number at will.

Re:How to simulate dialup (4, Informative)

dryeo (100693) | about 8 months ago | (#44722681)

I'm stuck on 26.4-28.8 connections due to location. My son plays quite a few games on-line. As I'm his gateway I monitor the amount of traffic and often he is barely using 300 b/s. Minecraft is one example he plays a lot.

Re:How to simulate dialup (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44722725)

Apologies for posting as apparently anonymous coward (from the uk).... there are satellite alternatives who's prices have been getting more reasonable (no i don't work for a sat company), i do know someone that uses a home style service and they say it is good (they live on a canal boat). I monitor prices on the satellite stuff and it's getting much more reasonable especially if you were paying 17 quid for crap.... anyway might be worth a look for you... http://www.avonlinebroadband.co.uk/packages/

Lee

Re:How to simulate dialup (5, Informative)

FireFury03 (653718) | about 8 months ago | (#44722767)

Apologies for posting as apparently anonymous coward (from the uk).... there are satellite alternatives who's prices have been getting more reasonable (no i don't work for a sat company), i do know someone that uses a home style service and they say it is good (they live on a canal boat). I monitor prices on the satellite stuff and it's getting much more reasonable especially if you were paying 17 quid for crap.... anyway might be worth a look for you... http://www.avonlinebroadband.co.uk/packages/ [avonlinebroadband.co.uk]

Lee

The problem with satellite broadband is the latency is very high, even compared to dialup (although the throughput can certainly be good), so whether its suitable depends on what you're using it for. Also, some of the satellite "internet" providers actually only provide access to the web, which is rather less useful.

Re:How to simulate dialup (5, Informative)

Altanar (56809) | about 8 months ago | (#44722929)

Exede [exede.com] user here. Here's my typical experience with my satellite connection:

  • Minimum latency: 700 ms
  • Download speed: Paying for 12 Mbps. Real speed: around 20 Mbps. Yes, actually faster than advertised. However, due to the built-in latency, websites feel a little slower to load.
  • Upload speed: Paying for 3 Mbps. Real speed: Usually 1 Mbps. They obviously put low priority on uploads.
  • Data cap: 15 GB/month. However, data is unmetered between 12 AM and 5 AM.
  • Internet access Essentially unfiltered. Bittorrent is throttled. However, enabling protocol encryption bypasses the throttling.

My main issue with Exede is that it's DNS is flaky and sometimes requires me to cycle my network connection to fix. Even worse, it uses a proxy to hijack all port 53 DNS requests, so you can't choose an alternate server with the standard port. Netalyzr's [berkeley.edu] log info on this:

UDP access to remote DNS servers (port 53) appears to pass through a firewall or proxy. The client was unable to transmit a non-DNS traffic on this UDP port, but was able to transmit a legitimate DNS request, suggesting that a proxy, NAT, or firewall intercepted and blocked the deliberately invalid request. A DNS proxy or firewall caused the client's direct DNS request to arrive from another IP address. Instead of your IP address, the request came from [Redacted]. A DNS proxy or firewall generated a new request rather than passing the client's request unmodified.

But other than that, it's still a *vast* improvement over the dial up I had for 15 years.

Re:How to simulate dialup (2)

FireFury03 (653718) | about 8 months ago | (#44723221)

Even worse, it uses a proxy to hijack all port 53 DNS requests, so you can't choose an alternate server with the standard port.

My guess is that it probably does a few tricks with proxying both DNS and HTTP traffic to improve performance in light of the latency (e.g. 3-way TCP handshakes are going to take about 1050ms to complete under normal circumstances on your connection, whereas a proxy can eliminate the need to carry the 3-way handshake across the low latency connection. Local caching DNS would be a big help too, so I wouldn't be surprised if that was built into your router.)

I'm curious how satellite providers handle upstream - I presume they must do some kind of polling to fetch data from each user to avoid collisions, so that could also add to the latency.

Re:How to simulate dialup (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44722781)

Sat service if it's geosat (which is likely for "more reasonable prices") has high latency which is bad for gaming.

Re:How to simulate dialup (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 8 months ago | (#44723259)

Minecraft, and most online games, don't use a lot of bandwidth. They are very sensitive to latency though - once the RTT goes over about 100ms players start to notice. Most FPSs become effectively unplayable at around 700, and even below this lower-latency connections give some players a considerable advantage. Dialup is also higher-latency, as even a few packets queued up can take considerable time to clear.

Re:How to simulate dialup (1)

Xicor (2738029) | about 8 months ago | (#44723797)

my grandparents use dialup, the download of firefox timed out after 12 hours

Re:How to simulate dialup (1)

dryeo (100693) | about 8 months ago | (#44725179)

wget is your friend. I can upload Firefox in about 6 hours but what is a killer is Mercurial which really doesn't like dial-up

Re:How to simulate dialup (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 8 months ago | (#44722587)

sad thing is, most of those testimonies could be powered by a rooted nook simple touch and withstand the significant hardware upgrade

last time I was on dialup it was 2007 with two computers, 1 modem

it was tedious, but not unmanageable

Re:How to simulate dialup (1)

gagol (583737) | about 8 months ago | (#44722665)

Web designers who want to get a sense of what their web site feels like on dialup can download thttpd [acme.com] which supports bandwidth limiting; 5 kilobytes a second is a reasonable simulation of a dialup connection.

kilobit or kilobyte? Last I remember, it was around 45 kilobit per second... (long LONG time ago...)

Re:How to simulate dialup (1)

dryeo (100693) | about 8 months ago | (#44722687)

If you live somewhere in the west where your only option is dial-up, it is going to be slower. Here currently CONNECT 28800/ARQ/V34/LAPM/V42BIS and it is probably now 26.4

Re:How to simulate dialup (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44722699)

Think about what you just said there, 5 kilobytes is approximately equal to 45 kilobits.

Re:How to simulate dialup (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44722705)

Depends on if you had a crappy modem and also don't forget line conditions can play into it. I always got right around 5 with my hardware modem. Software modems always sucked.

Re:How to simulate dialup (1)

gagol (583737) | about 8 months ago | (#44722855)

Software modems always sucked.

I agree 100%. Seems a lot af americaners are atill on those (excuse the word, sucky) connections. I remember the days my village was connected only at the library... and it sucked. Today I live much more rural in Canada, not as cheap as US but I can stream movies! Thank you for the reality check!

Re:How to simulate dialup (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44722903)

Seems a lot af americaners

Are those like Afrikaners?

Re:How to simulate dialup (1)

dryeo (100693) | about 8 months ago | (#44725141)

I'm 50 klicks outside of Vancouver and have a sucky connection. Need a quality hardware modem to connect at close to 28.8. No cell coverage either.

Re:How to simulate dialup (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 8 months ago | (#44724367)

When I was the network admin/tech support guy for a small ISP, we had a Cisco AS5200 with PRI so our customers could get a full 56kbd connection. First of all, it wasn't 56kbs, under best conditions it was 46 to 48kbs. I figure for at least a third of our customers, and well over three quarters of our rural customers, 56kbs had to be disables on their modems to achieve a stable connection. Line conditions have to be pretty good to stay above 28.8kbs. Exacerbating this problem were winmodems, which because they pegged the CPU to do decoding, and usually required a damned good CPU and near optimal line conditions.

Re:How to simulate dialup (2)

jonbryce (703250) | about 8 months ago | (#44722927)

The theoretical limit is 56 kilobits per second, which is 7 kilobytes per second. However 5 kilobytes per second is a more realistic real-world speed.

Re:How to simulate dialup (1)

nogginthenog (582552) | about 8 months ago | (#44722975)

The theoretical limit is much higher. Modems use compression.

Modems don't recompress (2)

tepples (727027) | about 8 months ago | (#44723969)

Anything big that one would send over the wire, such as zipfiles, image files, audio files, and application installers, is already compressed. Modems won't increase compression.

Re:How to simulate dialup (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 8 months ago | (#44723003)

That's 56Kb/s if you've got a good line, but if you've got a line that can do 56Kb/s then you're probably also close enough to the exchange that you can get ADSL, and a cheap ADSL package will cost less than dial-up these days. If you're somewhere where you can't get ADSL, then the line quality is likely not going to give you more than 26.4Kb/s, which works out to under 3KB/s once you add in protocol overhead and 2-2.5 being more common.

Re:How to simulate dialup (1)

gagol (583737) | about 8 months ago | (#44723083)

I remember 64K isdn and a (very dissapointing) star wars episode 4 trailer download (50 real mb) and was impressed it took lees than a day! Ha memories ;-)

Re:How to simulate dialup (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 8 months ago | (#44723275)

The theoretical maximum is 56k down, 33.6k up - something that the modem manufacturers don't like to boast on the '56k' label is that the connection is assymetric.

In practice though, you'll very rarely achieve the full 56k down - that's the speed under an ideal line quality. The modems run quality tests on the line during handshaking (That series of sounds increasing tone in steps you can hear) to determine how high they can safely go. Somewhere around 40-45k is about typical.

Re:How to simulate dialup (1)

dryeo (100693) | about 8 months ago | (#44725107)

I recently replaced my modem. The new one (a USRobotics) supports V.92 which claims 56K down and 48K (or 31.2K with a V.90 server) up with a note that FCC regulations limit it to 53.3 down with a disclaimer about lines and support. I get 26.4-28.8 connections.

Re:How to simulate dialup (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44722813)

You could just set your phone to GPRS-only and tether. Voila, Internet like it's 1994.

Re:How to simulate dialup (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44723725)

Dialup tends to be at least 50kbits a second for me, on a modem which is ostensibly "28.8k".

So clean up the oil mess now? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44722565)

BT has a bad history here in the states.

Re:So clean up the oil mess now? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44722575)

uh..that's bp, idiot.

Re:So clean up the oil mess now? (0)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 8 months ago | (#44722589)

whats that sound?

its the mighty whoosh!

Re:So clean up the oil mess now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44722651)

no indications it was or was not a joke.

Re:So clean up the oil mess now? (1)

madprof (4723) | about 8 months ago | (#44722669)

That is called "subtlety".

Re:So clean up the oil mess now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44723731)

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.

10 quid for broadband access? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44722591)

I wish my local state-owned telco would offer me the same deal...

Re:10 quid for broadband access? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44722653)

How much does a squid go for? Is 10 bulk?

Re:10 quid for broadband access? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44722727)

How much does a squid go for? Is 10 bulk?

You've got to be squidding me.

Re:10 quid for broadband access? (1)

jonbryce (703250) | about 8 months ago | (#44722935)

http://www.productsandservices.bt.com/products/broadband/packages [bt.com]

Doesn't include line rental which is another £15.45 per month and only gives you 10GB of data. Line rental is extra for the dial-up package as well. In terms of units better understood by the general public, that is about 8 hours of BBC iPlayer per month.

Re:10 quid for broadband access? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 8 months ago | (#44723017)

and only gives you 10GB of data. Line rental is extra for the dial-up package as well. In terms of units better understood by the general public, that is about 8 hours of BBC iPlayer per month.

Not sure how you did that calculation. iPlayer HD is 3.6-4Mb/s, which works out at around 5-8 hours for 10GB. Standard definition content is 0.7Mb/s, which works out at just under 32 hours in 10GB.

Re:10 quid for broadband access? (1)

jonbryce (703250) | about 8 months ago | (#44723059)

flashhd works out at about 1.2GB per hour, so you can get 8h 20m in 10GB. But then you need to take away the data used in loading up the pages to decide what to watch etc.

flashvhigh works out at about 600MB per hour, so you get twice the length of video vs high definition.

To get one of the other formats, you need to be using something other than a desktop computer.

Re:10 quid for broadband access? (1)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | about 8 months ago | (#44725051)

I have a friend in the UK who in turn has a friend that works for Virgin. He gets "mates rates" around 40 pounds a month, two smart phones (a blackberry and a samsung andriod) unlimited calling, messaging etc anywhere in the UK, cable his house (with pretty much all channels but porn), VOIP home phone and I think it is around a 30Mbps internet connection. All this for about half what I pay for my 150Mbps connection. Pretty sweet. But even normal people get things a lot cheaper in the UK for this kind of stuff. 15-20 pounds a month is pretty typical for a cell phone from what I've heard.

Not bad at all (1)

prelelat (201821) | about 8 months ago | (#44722595)

This seems to be good news for everyone. BT gets to can a part of their business that is already made redundant by an owned property. They can allocate those resources somewhere else. The other telecom gets an increase of around 1000 subscribers increasing revenue for them. For some reason the crazy individuals who were paying more for the same service are now being informed that they should pay this other company less for the same service. The only people who lose are the ones who were technicians working directly on the dialup infrastructure. Hopefully they were doing both and keep their jobs.

Re:Not bad at all (4, Informative)

Lincolnshire Poacher (1205798) | about 8 months ago | (#44722643)

The only people who lose are the ones who were technicians working directly on the dialup infrastructure.

BT Openreach will still maintain the dial-up modems in the non-ADSL exchanges, of which there are 80+ in Scotland. So no real technical savings there.

Re:Not bad at all (1)

gagol (583737) | about 8 months ago | (#44722959)

So, its like touch tone telephones. No more new suscribers, gotta serve the customers we have now...

Re:Not bad at all (2)

bheading (467684) | about 8 months ago | (#44723253)

There is a long tradition of backwards compatibility in the telephone network in the UK.

A phone made 100 years ago will still work. Unbalanced ringing and pulse dialling are all supported.

Re:Not bad at all (1)

dryeo (100693) | about 8 months ago | (#44722701)

As long as the subscribers aren't faced with long distance charges to connect with the other ISP.

Re:Not bad at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44722799)

And the service is just as good!

There were huge differences in the quality of service... back when I was on dial-up. Some ISPs just sucked.

Re:Not bad at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44722893)

http://www.plus.net/support/dialup/dialup/connection_guide.shtml

It's either an 0808 freephone number or an 0845 non-geographic number. Apart from that, few if any phone tarrifs in the UK actually charge different rates for local and national calls.

Re:Not bad at all (2)

jonbryce (703250) | about 8 months ago | (#44722939)

No. There is no such thing as long distance charges, in the UK. It costs the same to call anyone anywhere in the country no matter where you are.

Re:Not bad at all (4, Informative)

petermgreen (876956) | about 8 months ago | (#44723373)

Short version:
Whereever they are in the UK they will pay the same charges to use the internet either paying a fixed subscription fee and then no phone call charges or paying by the minuite to their phone provider.

Long version:
The fact you use the term "long distance charges" makes me suspect you are an american. Things played out differently in the UK.

AIUI in the USA local calls were traditionally free, so if you found an ISP in your local call area then you paid no phone call charges. If your ISP was outside your local call area then you would pay "long distance charges" to connect to it in addition to whatever your ISP charged.

In the UK calls were traditionaly divided into "local", "regional" and "national". Local calls were cheapest (but not free), regional calls more expensive and national calls the most expensive. None were free.

When dialup ISPs first turned up in the UK they had only the occasional point of presense and it had a regular geographic number, so if you were outside of london you may well have had to pay national call rates to use them. This made internet access fairly expensive.

Then ISPs realised they could use 0845 numbers. At the time 0845 numbers cost the same as a local call regardless of where you were in the UK* and due to the crazy way regulatory structures were set up the reciving telco could actually make a profit off the call. At first ISPs just added 0845 lines as a feature and continued to charge subscription fees and/or per minuite charges of their own but later ISPs showed up where the only thing the customer had to pay was the 0845 call charges.

Arround this time there was also a short lived product called "surftime" from BT where the end user paid an additional charge on their phone line rental and in exchange got unmetered access (possiblly only at certain times of day) to special dialup phone numbers intended specially for use with the surftime package (though they could also be used by non-surftime users who would have to pay a per-minuite charge for the call)

Finally ISPs started offering "unmetered" packages where you pay a subscription to your ISP but you don't pay any phone call prices. From the end users point of view it looks like they are calling a freephone number and nothing appears on their phone bill but from the ISPs point of view there are special tarrifs for this service that are much cheaper than a regular freephone call.

Arround this time cheap (often unmetered) calling plans for phone calls to geographic numbers came in but 0845 calls were excluded from them and often the geographic numbers of ISPs were explicitly exlcuded too. So you couldn't really use them to access the internet.

Surftime basically died out (I can find any announcement saying it was no longer available to new customers, i've no idea if they ever got arround to killing it completely) so now for dialup in the UK you have basically two options. Either you use an ISP with no subscription fees and an 0845 number (and pay your telephone provider per minuite) or you use an ISP where you pay a subscription fee and then get free calls to the ISP.

* Since then the cost of calls to geograpic numbers has dropped through the floor while 0845 prices have remained much the same, so this is no longer the case.

Re:Not bad at all (1)

dryeo (100693) | about 8 months ago | (#44725045)

Thanks for the explanation, I should have remembered the British phone system. Here in Canada long distance is a consideration if you're not in a major metro area and it is expensive ($0.27 base) with most calling cards and such going through compression which screws up dial-up.

http://www.uklinux.net/ (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44722599)

http://www.uklinux.net/ do dial-up

So... tomorrow? (1)

SeaFox (739806) | about 8 months ago | (#44722603)

I had to go check FTA to see what the date on it was -- the 30th.
So BT is really only giving people 2 days notice that it's ending their Internet service?

Re:So... tomorrow? (1)

MtHuurne (602934) | about 8 months ago | (#44722647)

From FTA:

but it wrote to its narrowband customers in June explaining its decision to terminate the service

Re:So... tomorrow? (1)

SeaFox (739806) | about 8 months ago | (#44722673)

Ah, thanks.

I looked at the article, but I didn't read it cause, ya'know...

Re:So... tomorrow? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44722817)

If you expect to get your customer service notices from the comments in Slashdot-linked news articles... um, dude, I think your rent might be due. Better check on that.

Re:So... tomorrow? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44722797)

Excellent... so, news article is late, summary tries very hard to make BT look bad when in fact it is lowering prices for everyone. So... um... dude, I seriously can't see anything bad going on here. And it's not interesting, like getting a last telegram... "Hi, this is my last email on dial-up" just isn't the same.

Huh? (1)

Lije Baley (88936) | about 8 months ago | (#44722619)

Dial-what?

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44722707)

Well, before the internet as we know it there was something called dial-up. It was this thing where people could connect with each other without have a real internet connection. It made this beep beep bepp sound ding dong before you were "online".

Re:Huh? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44722809)

So very hard to replicate the feeling of success when you heard the last few beeps.

Re:Huh? (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 8 months ago | (#44722815)

Lije Baley (88936):

Dial-what?

With that UID the only way you can't know is if you have Alzheimer...

Now do the same for IPv4 (2)

unixisc (2429386) | about 8 months ago | (#44722655)

Good idea, BT. Now, a good sequel to this would be to pull the plug on IPv4, and replace it all w/ IPv6

so in other words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44722693)

BT recommends a switch to Plusnet â" an ISP which offers cheaper dial-up prices and is owned by .... BT.

.... this is non-news and a non-issue..

Re:so in other words... (1)

petermgreen (876956) | about 8 months ago | (#44723399)

Well it means they have decided that dialup is no longer important enough to handle as part of their main buisness. So they have pushed off the responsibility of handling those customers unlucky enough to be stuck on dialup to a relatively small subsidary.

http://www.alib88.us (-1, Offtopic)

commonprosperityle (3036257) | about 8 months ago | (#44722711)

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Is the Internet better now? (2)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | about 8 months ago | (#44722785)

I'm finding that I'm not learning any more from the Internet now than the Internet of 13 years ago.

There's a lot more shiny and noise, and web pages which used to be optimised for efficient downloading are now optimised for nothing at all.

It's like comparing Windows NT 4 with 8, or Adobe Reader 3 with XI: the functionality that most people need to get work done has been there for a very long time.

Re:Is the Internet better now? (2)

Kjella (173770) | about 8 months ago | (#44722835)

I'm finding that I'm not learning any more from the Internet now than the Internet of 13 years ago.

If you care to you can find plenty good how-to videos on YouTube that are far more instructional than the plain text files you could download back in the dial-up days (yes, 2000 I was still on ISDN, 64 kbps and pay-per-minute) but I much prefer using it for entertainment. And I love HD over grainy crappy old shit that takes forever to download, bring on UHD.

Re:Is the Internet better now? (2)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | about 8 months ago | (#44723037)

I'm sorry but long streaming videos are *not* far more instructional than what can be achieved with mark-up.

The video lecture format has a one-size-fits-nobody delivery rate, and you can't even decide how much information to show in front of you at once.

It's possible that people with poor attention spans do better with TV, but that's a different problem which isn't solved by more TV.

Yes, if you *enjoy* copious amounts of high resolution video, the modern Internet is better for that sort of *entertainment*. But it doesn't help people learn more.

Re:Is the Internet better now? (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | about 8 months ago | (#44723385)

And I love HD over grainy crappy old shit that takes forever to download, bring on UHD.

I'm curious where you're finding your HD video on the internet... Certainly the HD video on iplayer is such low bandwidth and it macroblocks on any fast moving video (for reference, BBC HD on DVB-S is 16Mbps H.264... BBC HD on iplayer is... not).

Re:Is the Internet better now? (2)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 8 months ago | (#44722901)

web pages which used to be optimised for efficient downloading are now optimised for nothing at all.

That's not true; they're optimized for showing you a maximum of advertisement with a minimum of content.

I really feel for the poor dial-up folks. It was bad enough a decade and a half ago when web pages were reasonable, but now that every 10-item list has turned into a one-page-per-item slideshow it's got to be infuriating!

Re:Is the Internet better now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44723005)

Wikipedia and the StackExchange sites are constructive quantum leaps that just had no equivalent 13 years ago. Another small revolution in select circles (math, mostly :-) ) is Wolfram Alpha.

In general all content has grown exponentially which certainly gives more "intellectual" opportunities as well, but an overwhelming lot of the growth is just fluff, to give it a nice term. Not to be to negative here, but e.g. Twitter has not really made the internet "better" in any way I define the word. Perhaps especially not in the constructive learning way, since there is next to nothing of deep learning value that can be communicated in 140 characters.

But yeah, the biggest "revolutions" have been in media content delivery, social networks and advertising. That is the way of the market, but it is also not to say that other areas haven't received any love at all.

Re:Is the Internet better now? (2)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | about 8 months ago | (#44723081)

I honestly get nothing at all from Wikipedia. StackExchange is useful, but that is like you say a content growth thing. I appreciate Wolfram Alpha! I have been using Mathematica since the '90s, and it came with a philosophy which has so much potential. I am not sure it's incredibly useful just yet, and a lot of simple things you hope to give useful answers just bring back generic crap - but I have hope.

Re:Is the Internet better now? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44723241)

Noted. Now explain to us why you don't have a television.

Re:Is the Internet better now? (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 8 months ago | (#44723169)

I'm finding that I'm not learning any more from the Internet now than the Internet of 13 years ago.

I think you have a rose coloured view of the internet from 13 years ago. The great learning opportunities existed back then in ring groups that you had to click from page to page often with a poor signal to noise on any actual learning. Search engines were poor to the point where you'd use certain engines on certain topics to find something useful. Just because the modern view isn't optimised for efficient downloading doesn't mean that the internet now isn't far better.

On the topic of learning let's find some information on learning. Typing learning into Google returns some useful stuff like the very first hit is a link to the largest encyclopaedia of human knowledge ever created. The page also links to many other pages on related topics, gives some 30+ references, and offers a list of further readings. Picking the first further reading is a book published by the Harvard University Press. Off to the library then? Maybe just jump on Google Scholar and start reading since they have a full scan of the book available.

I don't miss the old internet one bit. On that note I'm rather glad I don't need to use Windows NT4 either. Multi-monitor support, what's that? I actually still have to use NT4 on a few work machines and it's painful.

Re:Is the Internet better now? (1)

petermgreen (876956) | about 8 months ago | (#44723443)

I don't miss the days of either metered dialup or unmetered plans that kicked you off after an hour forcing you to wait through that modem dialing again making use of IM impractical. I don't miss the days of having my phone line being blocked by being online. I don't miss the days of video being something you waited hours to see a short low quality clip. Yes sometimes it's enfuriating when some idiot makes video the only option but it's often much easier to see how to do something when you are shown it than from reading a complex discription. I don't miss it being virtually impractical to download CD images of linux distros due to the download time being longer than my ISP would let me stay connected at once.

Of course for those unlucky few who are still stuck on dialup things must really suck now.

Incompetent notification or phishing? (3, Interesting)

CaptainOfSpray (1229754) | about 8 months ago | (#44722787)

My brother is an old BT customer (in both senses). He has had a BT email account since Adam was a lad, and a broadband account since broadband became available on his street (getting on for 10 years).

He just forwarded an email to me which purported to come from BT offering to "connect his email address to his broadband account", Click Here to keep your email address. It looked very very real, but the link targets did not correspond to the text.

It is possible his email account was marked as dial-up because of how long it has existed with no changes that would have recreated it - but still, the links aren't right. So I said "PHISHING" and told him to forward the headers to abuse@bt.com.
It's getting more and more difficult to tell phishing from real messages that are just incompetently designed.

Postscript: I forwarded the email to abuse@bt.com - where it bounced. Way to go, BT - advertise an address that doesn't work. Perhaps you are too busy letting the NSA burrow into the Transatlantic Cable.http://www.theguardian.com/business/2013/aug/02/telecoms-bt-vodafone-cables-gchq

Not a news story (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44722831)

You can get dial-up from Plusnet, which is owned by BT. The story basically says BT still does dial up, but its named something else.

  - this is the worlds most non-news story. Can we please something news worth for a Saturday morning?

Re:Not a news story (2)

jonbryce (703250) | about 8 months ago | (#44722949)

Plusnet is owned by BT, but is run as an independent company with its own customer services department in Sheffield, England, which is much better than BT's customer service department in India.

Re:Not a news story (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | about 8 months ago | (#44723397)

Plusnet is owned by BT, but is run as an independent company with its own customer services department in Sheffield, England, which is much better than BT's customer service department in India.

Wonder why BT didn't just "sell" their customers and DDIs to Plusnet instead of instructing people to migrate.

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It's still easy to get dial-up (2, Informative)

Wootery (1087023) | about 8 months ago | (#44722881)

There are dial-up providers out there which don't even ask that you sign-up, they just provide a phone-number+username+password for anyone to use. [phurix.co.uk]

(What's in it for them, I don't know. 0845 numbers don't generate revenue for the callee.)

What BT are shutting down is, from what I can gather, their unlimited dial-up service (i.e. a username/password on a dial-up service at a free-to-call number). Whether there are any of those still out there, I'm not sure. Google didn't turn up anything interesting.

Re:It's still easy to get dial-up (4, Informative)

jonbryce (703250) | about 8 months ago | (#44722961)

0845 numbers are special rate numbers and do generate some revenue in termination fees for the receiving telco. It probably isn't enough money for them to pass it on to a call centre or similar that uses the numbers, but when the telco uses the numbers themselves to provide an internet service, the numbers do stack up.

Re:It's still easy to get dial-up (1)

Wootery (1087023) | about 8 months ago | (#44725097)

I don't know that you're right. Having skimmed these [saynoto0870.com] three [saynoto0870.com] threads [saynoto0870.com] , I get the impression the telcos are the ones who profit here.

Re:It's still easy to get dial-up (1)

jonbryce (703250) | about 8 months ago | (#44725517)

Is that not what I said? Yes, the telco gets the money. Whether they use that money to forward the call to call centres around the country, or to provide a dial up internet service is up to them, but they do get money out of it, and that money is enough to pay for the costs of operating an internet service.

$15 broadband ftw (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44723073)

Hey BT, want to expand to the US? I could use me some $15 broadband.

Dial up not dead in US. (3, Interesting)

CrAlt (3208) | about 8 months ago | (#44723745)

AT&T still offers good dial up here in the states for $22/month. Free if you are a uverse customer.
http://att.prodigy.net/openPhone/index.html [prodigy.net]

I keep a little usb modem in my laptop bag for those "when all else fails" times. Its slow but its better then nothing.

ADSL is also dial-up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44723875)

Only because your combined modem/router does it now, it does not mean it is any different than old 54k modems. I remember setting up the dial-up options on Windows, it had a built-in NAT router and communicated with the non-configurable adsl modem directly in 98. I think it still has, just no one uses it anymore.

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