Online life in slow motion

Unexpectedly this morning our ADSL at home got shaped — that is, slowed down to more-or-less dialup speed because we’d used all our bandwidth for the month. Fortunately it’s not the calendar month — it’s the month up until the 21st.

I could blame the excessive use of YouTube in the house, but ultimately it’s probably due to torrents of Sports Night, the Aaron Sorkin series from 1998 (pre-West Wing) which appears to be pretty much unattainable otherwise, and is the only TV show I’ve ever encountered with three characters named the same as people in my immediate family: Daniel, Isaac and Jeremy. (We don’t have any people called Casey, Dana or Natalie in our family however.)

It’s been something like 8 years since I’ve had to use dialup from home (apart from a short period after moving in 2003). While I could wail and moan about it. In fact I could easily buy a Data Block to see us back on broadband until the end of the billing period.

But in fact it’s a little like what apparently happened in Seattle recently when they shut down a third of a major freeway for construction works. People used it less, and the traffic just vanished.

I reckon we could do without YouTube for a few days.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

8 replies on “Online life in slow motion”

Yep, hitting your cap sucks. But being disconnected is much worse…

The Internet went down for a day at our house and I was simply lost.

“Oh, okay, so I can’t watch YouTube or Joost, right, well I’ll fly around in Google Earth for a while… No. Fine, I’ll do some work on my website… No. Play a little Guild Wars… No. Check the weather… No. Chat to a mate in Europe… No. Blog about how I can’t do anything… No. Go outside and do something… Wow, outside is really high resollution…”

yes, is a problem. Since the kids got iPods, we have upped our load limit (by a factor of five). It’s annoying having one’s ADSL shaped when you’re only half way thru’ the month.

I just recently read about this aspect of Australian internet service. Here in the USA there are no such monthly download limits. Does Australia also have cable TV internet service or just DSL?

Jed, there are many broadband providers, and some offer cable as well as DSL. Plans vary greatly according to monthly cost, and some will shape your connection when you hit a quote; others will start charging you extra. Whirlpool’s Broadband Choice can tell you what’s available in particular areas. But in general, it’s likely to be more expensive than in the USA.

And the other bad thing about broadband in Australia is the widespread use of RIMs in new developments – which only provide (generally) for 20% of houses to have access to an ADSL port.

We have moved into a house in Bayside Brisbane 9 months ago and have been on dialup since – because no ports are available. Some of these houses are $1 million plus and there is no way you can get broadband at all. And NO ONE on a RIM can get ADSL2. The lucky country indeed…

What is a RIM and what does the “A” stand for in ADSL? I also read that the USA had cable TV long before Australia. I can remember as a kid our home in Reading, Pennsylvania being connected to cable in 1976. At that time we went from about 4 to about 12 channels. I can remember that before that most of our signals came in weak from Philadelphia 60 miles (100 KM?) away. There was plenty of fine tuning and banging on the TV set to get good reception. Later in the surburb that I lived in Outside Chicago got cable installed in 1984.

Thanks for the links above. They have answered several questions I had. As I will be moving to Melbourne in a few months they will help me make an informed decision about choosing a good internet service plan there. Jed

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