May 25, 2017

Internet Access: Live Without It? No Way!

Cable modem showing the online light in greenNowadays I won’t even look at a place to live, if it doesn’t have Internet access. I’m 48, so I remember when it was an option. Today, Internet access is a personal and financial necessity. I am on the Internet first thing in the morning and last thing before bed. On it, I make money, keep in touch, look things up, read the news, watch movies, listen to music and learn. My ISP is my lifeline.

On days when I don’t get called in to substitute teach, there are dozens of websites I can make money on at home. I also take marketing assignments from a few firms that have leveraged websites in order to get freelance marketing help at short notice. Even the school district I substitute for expects me to review assignments online.

Keeping in touch with family and friends has never been so easy or inexpensive. In the early 1990s my husband and I were dating long distance. We paid the phone company more than $700 every month. Today through Facebook and email I communicate daily with high school friends I had long ago lost touch with. Family news spreads to everyone within an hour. All I pay is my monthly ISP fee.

I am far more likely to look up my symptoms at the Mayo Clinic website than to pay a $20 copay for a visit to my doctor. Aside from the money, though, looking things up online is almost an addiction for me today. My husband and I can’t watch TV without IMDB open so we can put names to all the faces on the TV screen. Most debates are settled with a quick trip to Google.

Online is the word we want to seeI haven’t paid money for a newspaper in at least five years. I have had an email subscription to ABC News since 1997. They email me a few minutes after news breaks. I can get all the classified ads online, for job hunting and garage sales. The TV listings are all online. I can read all the comics and do all the crosswords on the Internet as well.

Netflix allows me to stream just about any movie I want to see right now, rather than waiting for it to come on TV. If I can’t stream it, the DVD will arrive tomorrow. This is much better service than I get with Comcast cable, who want to charge me way more than $20 per month for movies on demand.

I’ve never been one to spend lots of money on music. I remember waiting for my favorite songs to come on the radio so I could tape them. Today I can just punch them up on YouTube, almost like a free juke box. Even better, I recently started listening to Pandora Internet Radio, where I have discovered dozens of current bands that play music similar to my old favorites.

I took my first “distance learning” course in 1996, through the University of Washington. I have completed ten more online classes since then. I’m a teacher, and we have to continue our education with lots of college classes every few years, to keep our teaching credentials. This is so much easier to do with Internet access!

My husband still talks of living on lots of acres out someplace where our nearest neighbor wouldn’t hear our dogs barking. I hope the 4G network reaches this place before he finds it. I don’t think I can make myself live anyplace that doesn’t have Internet access.

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