History of the Internet – Part 2

Working from a Rural Home in the early 2000s

Cindy McQueen

I was shocked when I mentioned to 2 people that I had written an article for Hello Country about dial-up internet and was told they both knew someone who still used it!  Curious, I called my old dial-up provider; they still offer dial-up to remote customers who aren’t within their cable coverage area. I didn’t think people would still use it when there were so many faster options available. I guess for people who just like to send emails and check the odd website (and have plenty of time to wait), it’s still a good affordable option. And the adage is true, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks 🙂 

In 2008 I started my business and was spending more and more time on the internet. Dial-up internet was hindering my work, so I did some research and discovered the Rogers Mobile Stick.

I’m not going to compare providers and plans; it was all about logistics: the location of the closest tower. And the Rogers tower was 1 kilometre down the road from our farmhouse.

 The Rogers Stick looked like a large USB flash drive and plugged into the USB port on the computer or laptop. It had its own mobile phone number and worked just like a cell phone wirelessly connecting to the local Rogers tower, which meant it was portable (not that I would drag my large desktop computer around with me, but it was possible). The download speed was dependent on the download speed of the tower, which I think was just under 1 MBPS (megabyte per second). It was definitely faster than dial-up (18 times faster)! 

Looking at a few old bills, it’s interesting to note that the data used was listed in kilobytes (KB), and the average data we used in a month was 400,000 KB. That translates to 400 MB (megabytes), which is equivalent to streaming 10 minutes of Netflix at high resolution. Imagine using up all your monthly data in 10 minutes and paying $42 for it! I was on a flex plan, I paid more if I used more. I also kept the dial-up connection as a back-up plan (okay I’m an “oldish” dog). 

So, to sum it up, I was using 2 internet providers: dial-up ($10/month) and mobile ($42/month). Both bases covered, I was able to build websites for my clients from the comfort of my home. For a short time anyway…

As published in Hello Country Magazine – April 2022 edition