20 March 2007
So pricey, these intarwebs
In the middle 1980s, when I started making a nuisance of myself online, I paid dearly for the privilege. Local dialups were free, assuming they were local calls. But I also had an account at CompuServe, which charged a variable rate per hour based upon your connection speed: 300 bps was $6 an hour, 1200 bps $12, and if you could find a node that offered 2400 bps, the tab was $22 an hour. Add to that an account at Dow Jones News/Retrieval, which during daylight hours (when they were busiest) charged over a buck a minute. (I used it only to check my stock portfolio, such as it was, which made the charges deductible, taxwise.) Besides this, I had two boxes at MCI Mail, which cost $35 a year and 50 cents per message.
Eventually these prices started to drop. I found in my archives last night my CompuServe bill from May 1997, when CIS was forced by market pressure (mostly from the likes of gasp! AOL) to abandon connect-time charges in favor of a fixed monthly rate. For April, I had paid $9.95, plus $3.50 for ZiffNet access (now ZDNet), plus $54.04 in connect time, apparently billed at $2.95 per hour. Connection speed was a spiffy 28800 bps.
Ten years later, I'm trying to avoid griping about my $42 monthly broadband (7 Mbps) bill, hence this little reminder of The Way It Used To Be.Posted at 8:25 AM to PEBKAC