Back when you had to walk to school uphill both ways in the blinding snow, there was dial-up Internet access. In fact, there may be some readers who remember taking the AT&T handset and squeezing it into two circular rubber holders so your personal computer (the term PC hadn't yet been invented) could warble those analog signals to a big
Cray computer somewhere at NORAD.
You remember War Games with preteen Matthew Broderick, don't you?
Then our kids were born, cell phones were invented, the sun finally dawned on man and the cable companies introduced - taaaa daaa with a drum roll, please - Broadband, with a capital B, thank you very much. The Internet was born and Wikipedia became The Word.
Broadband, a.k.a. the Fat Pipe, promised and for the most part delivered blazing speeds and fast downloads. And for the geeks among us, fast uploads. That is unless you're on the Internet in your time zone from about 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m, when kids, Dads and Moms plunk down in front of their computers and surrrrrfff the 'net. All at the same time.
It's like a virtual traffic jam. In fact, if you think that's bad, try the weekends when the Internet turns into a parking lot and the Fat Pipe gets thin. Very thin.
So, it's Class Action Man to the rescue. San Fransiscan Jon Hart wasn't happy with his download and upload speeds and suspected that his Internet Service Provider, Comcast, was intentionally slowing down his file transfers with his friends. His friends thought so, too, but they couldn't prove it.
Then the Associated Press published a report, allegedly validating their suspicions. Now our hero has sued Comcast, alleging damages from slow Internet speeds and false advertising. His lawyer wants to turn the suit into a class action.
Meanwhile, MIPTC's cable provider, Cox Cable, is briefly shutting down our Broadband Internet service next week to install a fiber network and replace the Fat copper Pipe. Here, downloads from the Internet will be like drinking from a fire hydrant. I guess they'd rather switch than fight.