British Telecom to shut down dial-up Internet access Sept. 1

Dial-up Internet access is slowly but surely becoming a thing of the past. While several companies in the U.S. such as AT&T, Netzero and others still offer a way for customers to connect their 56K modems to telephone line for Internet access, one major U.K. provider, British Telecom, will be shutting down its dial-up Internet service in less than a week.

Tom's Hardware reports that BT has informed its remaining dial-up customers that their service will be discontinued on Sept. 1. For its subscribers who can access BT's broadband Internet service, it will actually be slightly cheaper to switch, as the dial-up service costs £17.25 per month compared to £10 per month for BT's cheapest broadband rate.

Unfortunately, about 1,000 of the company's dial-up customers have no access to broadband Internet service. The story claims that those subscribers will have to switch to another dial-up Internet service called PlusNet, which is owned by BT but is operated as an independent company. To make matters worse for those customers, BT will not be providing any help for them in switching over to PlusNet.

Last week, a new study claimed that 20 percent of U.S. residents cannot or will not access the Internet, even though the U.S. government has spent billions of dollars in the last few years in an attempt to make broadband Internet accessible to more people.

Source: Tom's Hardware | Modem image via Shutterstock

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I think they should focus on getting broadband to those areas first, and then after a year at least, discontinue the dialup service. A similar thing is happening with phone reception. I am currently in an area of the UK where there is little to none 2g reception at the most. Meanwhile, they are starting to roll out 4G to more popular places......

Plusnet is a broadband provider primarily, although they still have an "unmetered" dial-up service,
it isn't mentioned on the Products page of their website. Anyone that wants dial-up from Plusnet
has to contact their sales team by phone. Since Plusnet is owned by BT Group, but operated as
a seperate company, I wouldn't be surprised if they too discontinue dial-up as well.

The UK whilst lower in population has a much higher density and thus requires much less infrastructure to get everyone connected.

Of course this does have downsides... for example things like food become more expensive as we have less land per population for growing crops and raising animals.

Back in 2000 / 2001 I did tech support for a local ISP (local as in main office was local but they provided dialup for about 10 / 15 different towns) providing only dialup internet access.

In some towns people would try to dial the ISP starting at 7pm and get a busy signal til about 1am. We / the ones working tech support were the ones that would get all the ****ed off customers calling. To make matters worse the ISP would still make us subscribe new customers to that town which was clearly over capacity. When we would get a new customer calling from that area wanting internet access, I would think ... "I'm sorry, if only you knew!"

So how did the ISP fix the situation? Well they didn't really, they wouldn't actually "Buy more modem", they would steal modems from other towns they serviced and move them to other locations, sometimes now causing issues in those other towns.

I felt so bad for our customers.

Until about two years ago, I still had dial-up in Illinois. I live out in the country, and so no cable or broadband was available. While Comcast still does not reach that far outside the city, I was able to upgrade to a satellite provider with 5Mb U / 2.5Mb D.

Last year I turned down our dial-up access for our last remaining 10 dial-up users... (I work for a regional ILEC)

Honestly we had no choice; supporting 30 year old dial-up boxes was a pain, and required more time/energy than we made from the service. I figure BT was in the same boat, more trouble than its worth.

LiGhTfast said,
Even if you couldnt get adsl surely mobile broadband even at 2g speed is faster than 56k.

The only people i know who use dial up still can;t get any form of mobile signal either.

I don't know how cutting off thousands of people from the Internet (a necessity these days) is a 'great move'. Yes, dial-up sucks, but if it's all you have...?

At minimum, they should be helping these folks with the switch to the other provider. (Not that BT has ever been famous for their stellar customer service.)

Charisma said,
I don't know how cutting off thousands of people from the Internet (a necessity these days) is a 'great move'. Yes, dial-up sucks, but if it's all you have...?

At minimum, they should be helping these folks with the switch to the other provider. (Not that BT has ever been famous for their stellar customer service.)

Great move because it frees up resources. As unfortunate as it is, a few thousand users is a drop in the ocean compared to the broadband users. It's also not like they can't get a dial up connection using identical equipment and one phone call.

But to the people included in that 'drop', it's a big deal. I'm not saying it's not a good deal on their end--I'm sure this money that could be better spent. But as I said, they should at least help with the switch (IMHO). Some of those folks will be older people who probably needed help getting it set up the first time around.

Charisma said,
But to the people included in that 'drop', it's a big deal. I'm not saying it's not a good deal on their end--I'm sure this money that could be better spent. But as I said, they should at least help with the switch (IMHO). Some of those folks will be older people who probably needed help getting it set up the first time around.

No no i totally agree with what you're saying. The truth is both BT and the government need to improve the infrastructure quick.

Agreed. I could see if this were the rural outback of Australia or some remote area in the US, it's more difficult... but we are speaking about Britain ffs, let's get it sorted hey

Charisma said,
I don't know how cutting off thousands of people from the Internet (a necessity these days) is a 'great move'. Yes, dial-up sucks, but if it's all you have...?

At minimum, they should be helping these folks with the switch to the other provider. (Not that BT has ever been famous for their stellar customer service.)

There are loads of reasons why this is a good idea.

I wish Microsoft had killed ie6, ie7, ie8 a long time ago! (and XP /ducks or cover)

Getting people to change his really hard.

They were written to in May with who to contact, I bet BT would get in trouble if they helped with the transition because it is a separate business and there are alternatives out there.

Charisma said,
Agreed. I could see if this were the rural outback of Australia or some remote area in the US, it's more difficult... but we are speaking about Britain ffs, let's get it sorted hey

You obviously have no idea about Britain, there are places that still don't have electricity.

There are so many remote places around the Highlands.

It is not just distance that makes the place isolated and inaccessible.

Oh, I know. But the folks without electricity won't even have dial-up; was speaking of a bit different situation.
(That being said, these problems should be sorted by now as well IMHO. If such large places can do it... but not to drag this off-topic.)

stevember said,

You obviously have no idea about Britain, there are places that still don't have electricity.

Incorrect. The last official residential dwelling in the UK to receive power was three years ago and was in Wales.

Aha, there we go, thanks. Relatively recent though, yeah Last time I was around there were still places without it. Good to know!

Charisma said,
Aha, there we go, thanks. Relatively recent though, yeah Last time I was around there were still places without it. Good to know!

I honestly only saw that on TV a few weeks back

Personally i'm sure there's a few places still further up here (Scottish Highlands) where there's a lack of leccy.

Charisma said,
Who needs it when you have static electricity from all the woolly sheep and highland coos?

Don't forget the prevalence of hydro power falling from the sky