Another Dialup Internet Service Bites The Dust

So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, good night - prepaid dialup internet access from Optus will cease in 9 days; marking the end of an era for the telecommunications company.

For many of us who have been kicking around internet for a while, these sounds would provide some fond (and perhaps also frustrating) memories.


This is a dialup modem handshake sequence - what happens a receiving modem answers the phone call made by another and the two devices commence communications. The sound would provide an important auditory diagnostic for internet users. The sound clip above represented a "good" handshake. 

Hopefully from there, you could then start cruising the web at speeds that by today's standards, would probably make you throw your computer out the window. Back then though, web pages were much less complex and required less bandwidth to load in a reasonably acceptable time; but dialup internet was nevertheless rather slow and often a hit and miss affair.

Dialup internet Dialup modem image by © Raimond Spekking / CC BY-SA 4.0 (via Wikimedia Commons)

Back in May this year Optus announced it would be closing its prepaid dialup service; and the deadline is rapidly approaching (July 15). Optus follows Telstra and most other Australian ISP's to ditch dialup support. Telstra dumped dialup back in late 2015, so Optus has done pretty well in keeping things going.

Even Australia's Bureau of Statistics stopped bothering to count dialup users last year. The last numbers we had on those were in mid-2016, when the figure had dropped to around 90,000 across Australia. The last time there were more than a million dialup users in Australia was in June 2009. By June 2010, that had dropped to 803,000.

While some of us may get a little misty-eyed over dialup's demise, at least there should always be sound clips floating around the web to remind us of the handshake and perhaps what was our first venture into the online world. Taking the edge of the nostalgia are the very fast broadband speeds many of us now enjoy; allowing us to view content that simply wouldn't have been accessible even if it existed not so long ago.

Trivia : There were 3.8 million dialup Internet subscribers registered in Australia at the end of the September quarter in 2000, who downloaded an average of 273 megabytes of data over the entire quarter (source: ABS). Today's video streaming services chew through approximately 1,000 megabytes of data per hour for each standard definition video stream (it's a good reason to opt for an unlimited data plan).

Posted: 6 Jul 2018

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