“Chestnuts roasting on an …buffering… ”


In the news is the issue of ending Net Neutrality. If this goes away, those who control your access to the internet can control the speed at which you receive it. If you want it faster, you may have to pay more. You might be experiencing a taste of this right now, if you are online doing your holiday shopping. How do you like the wait times? I read that before you get too serious with someone you should see how he reacts when his internet is slow.

I dealt with a slow internet this fall and discovered I am not as calm and cool-headed as I would like to be. I don’t know if I could go back to the days of dial-up. I was certainly more patient – I could do my nails while a page loaded. Now I have to go to a salon.

My provider seemed to be going slower and slower this year. Tests showed the signal was less than 1 mbps. The repair person who came out tried many things – rewiring where the router plugged in, checking the lines outside, testing the signal sent from the main service center. No luck. I surrendered and changed to one of the biggest media providers in the country, at a cost. I felt like I was selling my soul, but I am now at over 10 mbps. I have a steady signal, but lost a little of my self-respect.

If Net Neutrality is no longer guaranteed, my frustration with finding and maintaining a good signal will be more common. We will discover which websites are paying for faster signals, which are not, and who will be passing the costs on to us.

How did our tolerance change from our patience with dial-up to frustration over a few seconds of buffering? Should this change in expectation cause us to willingly pay more for instant results? What if we refused? What if we decided it was more important to read a real book, visit friends in person, work on a project or go for a walk? I know! Crazy thoughts!

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