The 15 Most Important Technologies of the Last 15 Years – #11: High Speed Internet

In the 1990’s, dial-up Internet was the cutting edge technology. By today’s standard, it is unimaginably slow. Yet even with this extraordinarily sluggish method of accessing the “Information Superhighway” (remember that term?) the Internet certainly changed the world. However, it wasn’t until the widespread emergence of high speed, i.e. broadband Internet that the mainstream use of the Internet really took off. Without high speed Internet, we wouldn’t have many of the services we take for granted today.

While broadband services started to become available in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, it did not start to achieve widespread market penetration until about 2002 and 2003. In some areas it took even longer to get going. While obviously the higher speeds of broadband service made a big difference as compared to dial-up, the “always on” nature of the service also made a significant impact on the way people used the Internet. Now instead of “getting on” the Internet and worrying about tying up a phone line, the Internet was always there. As we began to see the Internet as something that was an integral part of our lives instead of something that was a novelty, it set the stage for our highly connected society of today.

Do you remember using dial-up and when you first got high-speed service to your home or business? Did it feel like a life-changing experience? Comment below!