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Breaking News: Dial-Up Isn't (Quite) Dead

09/08/2013 17:44 BST | Updated 09/10/2013 10:12 BST

Ah dial-up. My generation's childhood and first experiences of the wonderful world of the Internet are soundtracked by that inimitable sound of a dial-up router clinking and whirring into life.

As we get older and have children of our own, we will no doubt shake our heads in disgust as our offspring complain that their favourite One Direction video is taking too long to buffer on their tablet. "When I was a kid, you had to wait 90 seconds for the BBC's homepage to load," we'll tell them.

Why am I dredging this up now? Well this week, the Office for National Statistics announced that less than one per cent of households in the UK are still using this archaic technology. That's right. Just under 1% of the population still experiences the internet in the same way as most of us did 15 years ago.

Obviously there are reasons for this, such as lack of accessible broadband infrastructure for those in rural areas or affordability issues, but many will find the fact that this technology is still in use surprising. Dial-up's replacement by DSL, cable and fibre optic lines has seen users drop from 14% of households in 2008, to less than 1% in 2013.

While dial-up's current user base is tiny in the grand scheme of things, it is strangely heartening to know that some Brits are still soldiering on with 56kbps connections. So while it takes the majority of households just seconds to download the average MP3 music file from iTunes, it would take a dial-up user around 90. Up this to an audio album from the same provider, and you are looking at around 20 minutes compared to a minute or less for broadband.

This might seem ridiculous to those of us sat at home reading this thanks to our super-fast fibre optic broadband, but even those with dial-up should think themselves lucky. The Internet Access - Households and Individuals 2013 statistics showed that 17 per cent of households still don't have any Internet access at all.

Of those without access, 59% said they simply "did not need it". When I spoke to Ian Rhodes from InTechnology about this, he said that: "Many people get their fill of the internet during their working day, meaning that by the time they get home they are sick to death of staring at a screen and have no need for an Internet connection in the home. Alternatively, a connection could be inaccessible, unaffordable or unrequired."

Personally, I think I would prefer to not have any internet access at all at home than have to soldier on with dial-up, but that may just be me! I don't know anyone at all who still uses it, so I'm interested to know if any readers have friends or family who still persist with good old dial-up. If so, find out whether this is through choice or circumstance, and let us know in the comments below.