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Over the past few weeks the internet connection at our home, which had been rock solid for years, has been a little dicey.  It has been up most of the time, but likes to play up and down games every once in a while as well.  As a trained and experienced technician for internet connectivity, I will go through the motions of trying to fix the problem myself before ever picking up the phone to talk to my provider.

Of course, part of this is because it is maddening talking to India when I’m out of work.  It makes me want to scream sometimes.

Well, last night it decided to start doing its little on again/off again dance once more.  I had just finished up a few things when the connection died, and was feeling a bit frustrated.  But, I told myself with the heavy rains and winds we had been getting all day an outage was not only possible, but even likely.  So, I picked up my phone and called my provider.  Lo and behold, a recording told me there was an outage, but in…the Dillsburg area?  Huh.  Not really that close, but I guess that could be affecting me. So, I decided to let it go.  I was irritated because I was in the middle of a two and a half day period where I had gotten into a beta test I was excited about, but there was still all day the next day.

It still wasn’t up this morning, and has been unstable for the last hour or so.  Supposedly they are fixing it.  I’ll trust it when I see it.

It got me thinking a bit, though.  Internet connectivity is no longer really a luxury.  At least not in the way it was in the past.  The ‘net has gotten so pervasive in our society that when your connection goes down it feels like you’re dead in the water.  No internet.  No e-mail.  You just feel lost.  Heck, even that internet-connected smart phone you have starts to feel confining where it is normally a source of freedom.

The truth is that, in many ways, internet connectivity has practically risen to the level of a utility.  You move into a new place and you make sure the water and electricity are on, but most of us also make a point of getting our cable TV (which I still refuse to pay for) and internet service are on as well.  I would venture more people turn on internet in a new housing situation these days than turn on a land line phone.  I’m not even sure it’s a stretch to say that a high-speed connection is the utility, not just an internet connection.

So, the question is, why am I putting up with the unreliability on my connection that would be absolutely unacceptable in my power or water?  Perhaps we need to rethink the way we define “utilities” in this new modern era.  Technology has driven major changes to society, culture, and communications.

Perhaps it needs to drive a change to our standards as well.

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