People Really Still Use Dial-Up Internet? Actually, 9.4 Million Do

Remember dial-up – that weird, hollow, echoing sound that defined your childhood? For most of us, this way of connecting to the Internet quickly became a relic once broadband began spreading across the country. And with all the talk of (affordable) gigabit speed internet coming to our homes in the very near future – if it hasn’t already – we thought it’d be interesting to explore what’s happening on the other, slower side of the spectrum.

So, we dug into some statistics about good ‘ole dial-up Internet, and we found that it’s still far more relevant than we ever would’ve imagined. Ready your surprised face.

Fast Stats from the Slower Side of the Information Spectrum

According to a 2013 study published by the Pew Research Center, 3% of the entire United States still connects to the world wide web via a dial-up connection. That’s more than 9.4 million Americans, folks. And while there are a variety of dial-up providers still out there – such as EarthLink and PeoplePC – the first consumer Internet connection, AOL, is still putting up big numbers.

Based upon its own quarterly earnings report in 2015, AOL still holds a steady dial-up user base of more than 2.1 million people. And all those 56k modem connections essentially mean that those 2.1 million people still experience the web like it’s 1995. In comparison, the average U.S. broadband speed is 11.4 Megabits per second – which is 200x faster than dial-up. And yet, at the same time, this also proves that the popular grandpappy of connectivity is still relevant and useful to many people – even all these years later.

Why (and Where) Folks Prefer their Dial-up

People always have their own reasons for choosing the type and speed of Internet they want in their homes. But, we wanted to dig into exactly what these might be. So, here are the main benefits of choosing a dial-up Internet connection.

  • Ease and Availability: If you already have a traditional phone line hooked up in your home, then you can quickly have dial-up Internet access as well, in no time at all. Just have a dial-up Internet service provider make the connection – and purchase a modem to translate the signal – and you’ll be on your way.
  • Quality: As long as you’re not trying to stream HD video or load every high-resolution picture a photographer has ever taken, then dial-up Internet can likely take care of all your web-browsing needs. Once you’re online, you can expect a consistent connection. 
  • Speed: Dial-up is most definitely not the fastest horse in the Internet race. But, if you’re not getting online that often – and you’re mostly just checking email or lightly Googling things when you are – then you’ll be just fine. Because there’s no need for a racehorse when a workhorse can get the job done just as well. 
  • Price: Dial-up is literally the cheapest way possible to connect to the Internet. The average AOL dial-up user pays just $20 a month to get online. Plus, there are even some dial-up plans available for less than $20 a month from various providers.

“20% of current dial-up users said nothing would ever get them to change their connection type.”

And when the Pew Center researchers asked these same dial-up subscribers what it would take for them to switch to a broadband Internet connection at home, they had a variety of answers. 35% said the price would have to fall, 17% said it would have to become available where they live, and a surprising 20% said nothing would ever get them to change. (Maybe they just love the sound of dial-up trying to tap into the Internet too much to ever let it go.)

On top of all that, interestingly enough, there was no notable difference related to where dial-up users lived. Rural residents, city dwellers, and suburbanites are all equally likely to be dial-up home Internet users.

And, strangely enough, a whopping 15% of American adults do not use the Internet at all. But in today’s age of information, that’s an odd choice given how quickly the world changes, and so quickly news can travel on it. So if you’d like to change your current provider or have a new Internet connection set up in your home – dial-up, broadband, or otherwise – then just let us know. Allconnect is always happy to help you choose the best Internet service provider for your home’s needs – all for free – even if you’ve grown to love a slower slice of life.

4 thoughts on “People Really Still Use Dial-Up Internet? Actually, 9.4 Million Do

  1. I have had dial up internet for 18 years, and I can’t afford anything else. I am in poverty and they should help people in poverty with high speed internet, but this is the United States, so it’s all about greed and not enough competition. I hope dial up does not become extinct. They already took away most of my TV channels when they switched to digital TV. Thanks US government. Analog TV (before 2009) was more dependable and I had more channels.

  2. It’s not surprising that 15% don’t use the internet because over 13% of people in the U.S. are over 80. Like my Mom “Why would I need to do that”! N55 if you can afford an internet connection at all you are not poor. You have enough to eat, money to buy a computer to use on the internet and a place to call home. Also if you can afford that modem connection you should be able to scrape up the $30 for the digital conversion box. I found a used one at Goodwill for $5. It would more than likely get you quite a few more channels and a better picture(usually).

  3. I talked to someone recently who actually is getting fewer channels since the tv switched to digital. I think it has to do with terrain. They used to get about 5 local stations, now they get only two, no matter what they do. They’ve tried different antennas, but they are outside town in a mountainous area and the signal just doesn’t come in.

    My cable/internet provider has a discount program for low income people, but not everyone offers this program. I don’t think the other cable/internet provider in town does, and I’m not sure any of the other internet only providers do either. If I had a home phone through them it would apply to that also, but my cell phone company doesn’t have it, and the only cell phone companies that do offer it in my state only serve the other side of the state, not where I am.

  4. Many of us in rural areas we have no water, no sewer, no cable, little or no cell phone service nor any possible hope of getting affordable DSL or broadband internet through our fading land line providers. Without the internet we can’t function. Being on a fixed income I can’t afford the new dialup plans My cell phone only picks up 10 miles from my home. This is why many rural people are forced to be tied to a worthless landlines and dial up. This year alone we had five counties without any means of calling 911 or anyone for over two weeks, via landlines and the rates went up. This is a Red state that gave funding to utility companies that helped get broadband into the cities. We got squat.

    Thank God Local TV Broadcasters haven’t been bought up yet or I’d go nuts. At least with the old rotatory phones and three Broadcast Networks we all could be alerted, informed or educated. Those days are dead. Paying more to see only what we like and hear only what we want to hear can do a great deal of damage in a short time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *