There used to be a joke in my family that my father, who was addicted to the computer, was not allowed to power up his PC on Christmas. This was long before widespread use of the Internet, and before any of the rest of us were computer-addicted. Now during a typical holiday season, all five adults have a laptop out at various times, and often all at the same time. Plus we’ve added in a couple of netbooks and a couple of smart phones to the mix. Someone is always online.
So imagine the consternation when we lost Internet connectivity late yesterday, and it stayed out for nearly 24 hours.
It sounds like a great excuse for family time, right? The problem is: most of us are dependent on the Internet for work. We get to be together longer over the holidays because we can access so much online. Without a broadband connection, there’s general panic over what’s being missed, who’s trying to get in touch, and when we’ll be able to communicate with the online world again. (That happened to be compounded in my case because I also dropped my cell phone in a puddle.) Like it or not, broadband is a necessity for the way we live.
The forced experiment in Internet-free life may have kicked me over the edge into spending money on mobile broadband along with my fixed connection at home. I’ve been on the fence for a long time, but I think I may have hit my tipping point. And I doubt I’m alone. With WiMAX starting to roll out, more Internet-connected devices everywhere, and more people needing to be online more often, the time for mobile broadband has arrived. All the money people have been waiting to make on mobile video and other advanced apps? Get us hooked with the promise of broadband connectivity anywhere, and those new revenue streams will follow.