Ding dong, dial-up is (finally) gone

Broadband can finally declare victory over dial-up in the U.S. AT&T and Comcast are #1 and #2 when it comes to how Americans connect to the Internet. AOL dial-up, which for nearly a decade dominated the Internet landscape is dying a slow lingering death.

AT&T, as we pointed out earlier now has 12.9 million broadband subscribers, while Comcast has 12.1 million. AOL has 12 million — a sign of a change in strategy and shift away from access to an advertising-based destination model. (I wonder if this is going to have a negative impact on Level 3?)

The speed with which AOL’s access business has unraveled is quite amazing. At the end of December ’06, AOL, as reported by Time Warner, had 13.2 million U.S. dial-up subscribers, a decline of 2 million from the prior quarter. Five years ago, AT&T had a million subscribers, while AOL had 25 million.

Now as the dial-up access rides into the sunset, I am going wax poetic, and be sentimental.

I miss the days when I would walk to CompUSA, hoping to get the latest 56 Kbps modem by US Robotics, or to save up dollars to buy a 3Com PCMCIA card. And oh the rage…. of not being able get the Ricochet service.

More than anything, dial-up made going on the net a proactive act, unlike today when we live in a bit-bubble. The upside of dial-up, if you can call that an upside, was that the Internet Life didn’t feel so overwhelming. As an Internet user, the very act of dialing up put you in charge. People didn’t spend as much time on the net, and didn’t send so much email that Fred Wilson had to declare e-mail bankruptcy.

Ah the golden era of the Senior Slowskies — when email was on demand, instead of showing up every few seconds, becoming more annoying than an annoying mother-in-law. Or when IM meant I wanted to be messaged, and not instant migraine. The good old slow days, when Yahoo paid attention to the minimalism and crafted a lite-site. The golden days when YouTube viewing didn’t come between me and productivity.

Enough of being a Golden Oldie — I wonder what the Prom Queen is doing.