When I moved into my flat in mid April and found myself in perhaps one of the most undesirable industrial towns in not only Berkshire but perhaps the whole of the South East, I made a conscious decision. No internet access (and therefore land-line) required. I thought foolishly that I would cope with using my smart-phone, regular (if somewhat limited in the web surfing sense) access during work hours and the odd download when at my parents on the occasional weekend I find myself in Wycombe. Unfortunately the reality of living in 2011 Britain is you need a fixed line broadband access. Unfortunately, therefore I would also need to have a Victorian copper phone line.
Originally I had hoped to opt for the fibre optic broadband only option via Virgin Media. However, I am not in a cable area, which is a surprise as these flats were built at the turn of the century. Instead I stumbled upon honest broadband from Yorkshire. The selling point? Unlimited downloads between midnight and 8am everyday. I was sold, and placed my order as soon as I got into the office on Friday 16th September. Within a few hours my phone line was connected and I was given a broadband activation date of just seven days. You got to say excellent customer service. I was sent text messages and e-mails every step of the way! Now the only delay in me getting on-line would be going to collect my router from my parents or having to wait for my dearest sister Samantha to drop it off in Slough.
You can imagine my frustration to discover the broadband was live on, a mere week later on Friday 23rd September but my sister had forgotten my router, so I had to go without on my first night of internet access. I could wait twenty four hours, I could honest. Plus 3G on my HTC Desire kept me going for a few more hours, that was enough. I ran a speed test at the time but forget to capture the image, so I have captured an image after the ten day stabilisation period. I had been quoted a speed of seven megabits per second, which was more than double of what I was used to. Back in High Wycombe, I live too far from the exchange in the town centre and therefore the speed is limited to three and a half megabits per second. (Although to be fair, there is the option of Virgin Media at home, as we are fully wired up to cable. We had ComTel phone lines for a few years).
I have missed the inter-web! Being able to quickly check Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo! Mail without having to worry about exceeding my monthly usage allowance (I never have but it always at the back of my mind when on line on my smart-phone!). Finally being back on MSN Live, the IM client is where I have tended to live in recent years. It was rare for an evening to go by and for me not to be chatting to friends, ex-colleagues and other acquaintances on line.
The internet has become a human right that we all should be entitled to. I have just moved from being out on the hard shoulder into the middle lane. This is after nine years spent crawling in the slow lane.