I still remember the first time I used the Internet. It was at my cousin’s place. At that time (around 2000), computers for me were just a glorified gaming machine. Apart from that, we’re taught MS Office and DOS at school; pretty boring stuff.
From what I remember, the dial-up modem was a PITA to set up, but once it was done, hello 56kbps. Even Google took some time to load, but in that age, it was one of the fastest loading pages.
The Internet opened up a portal to the entire world. Once I realized the possibilities, I was hooked. There were no distinctions here.
Being a little kid (in 2000), I wasn’t allowed to use the computer much, let alone browse the Internet on it. I was only allowed to play games on it now and then. Not to mention, it was my cousin’s computer at my cousin’s place.
It would be years before my parents bought me my own computer. That’s when I discovered cyber centres, where I could pay a certain amount of money and use the computer (and also browse the Internet).
Half the things I know today I learnt it back then. From learning how to google and send mails to download files and watch porn, I learnt it at the cyber. I had even started a blog on blogger.com, much before it was bought by Google. I don’t even remember what it was about, or its name.
Even when I did have my own computer years later (in 2003 I guess), there was no net connection at our home. I had to wait 3 more years for that, which also included a gruelling 6-month wait period (thanks BSNL).
I’ve never looked back since then.
The Internet has become a part of my life now. I can’t live without oxygen, food, water, and the Internet. Everything else comes later.
Even my current job is done on the cloud.
With the proliferation of smartphones, the Internet has become an even bigger part of our life. 3G and 4G mobile internet has revolutionized the way we communicate with each other. No longer is a mobile phone used only for long distance calls. From messaging and video chatting to browsing the Internet and what not, smartphones have replaced almost all of our leisure time. It has changed the way we think about spending our time.
Now that almost everyone in urban India has access to the Internet, the only way forward is faster internet speeds. You can do only so much with a 256kbps, or even a 1Mbps connection.
Up until a few months back I was stuck with my unlimited 1Mbps connection. It’s great for browsing and doing other basic work, but if I wanted to download a movie or watch a hi-def video, I had to plan everything in advance. It was highly inconvenient.
Moreover, BSNL’s service was inconsistent too. Sometimes, I had to go without the Internet for days, if not weeks. My only respite was mobile internet from Airtel, which can be pretty costly for regular use.
Finally, after months of contemplation, I decided to ditch my 9-year-old BSNL broadband connection and go with ACT’s blazing fast Fibernet. 30Mbps download and upload with 60GB FUP at almost the same price as BSNL’s offer.
Bye bye low-res video streams and overnight video downloads. Now, I can download a good quality 720p movie within 10 minutes. With streaming services, I don’t even have to wait that long.
Faster internet has changed the way how I consume content. I’m more impulsive now. I don’t have to fit my mood to watch what I already have; or not watch at all. Now, I can watch what I want according to my mood. That’s a big difference.
The same can be experienced when moving from 2G (EDGE) to 3G in mobile phones. I’ve never tried 4G for long, but from what I’ve seen, it’s even better.
Earlier, people used to send SMSes. Now, they forward pictures and short video clips using WhatsApp and WeChat. Some even use their mobile phones to make Dubstep and Vine videos. So, faster internet has not only changed the way we consume content, but also how we produce and share it.
The future looks pretty fast indeed.