20 minutes with no Broadband

When I got back from walking Ollie today, I noticed a warning message on the small screen of our landline phone, ‘Check Line’. Sure enough, the home phone was dead. This meant that we also had no broadband of course. So, no logging on to check emails, blog comments, or notifications. No browsing of websites, or any Internet activity whatsoever.

I went on to the fault checker, which of course told me that I had no Internet access to use to check the fault. Not for the first time, I wondered why the hell they bother to include this link. If I have no broadband, how am I supposed to get online to check where it has gone? I suppose I could use my smartphone, but trying to do anything on that small screen, with its annoying (US-based) spelling override is a very unattractive prospect.

I resorted to using my mobile phone to report the fault. Of course, being the 21st century, it was impossible to actually talk to anyone, except a computerised voice that offered me various options. After what seemed like an interminable wait, I got a message from the strange voice that confirmed I had a fault with the line. TELL ME SOMETHING I DON’T ALREADY KNOW! The voice went on to inform me that the fault would be reported to the engineers, who would send a text message to my mobile, and let me know what they were going to do about it. The text message alert then went off, to tell me that I had a fault on my landline phone, and it had been reported. More stuff I already knew. What a waste of time.

I then had time to reflect on a life without broadband. Not that long ago, I was struggling with a 56kps modem taking ages to send an email, let alone download a photo. But since 2012, I have had ‘good speed’ broadband, and using the computer has become second nature. We no longer get a phone book. After all, everyone looks up contact numbers online, and hardly anyone calls landlines anymore, do they? Appointments for the doctor can be done online, same with hospitals, banks, and almost anything you can think of.

But what happens when ‘online’ doesn’t work? What systems are in place to restore those old ways of doing things? The answer is almost none, it would seem. The world is online, and our lives are online. Even if you are not a blogger, and have nobody to send emails too, being online has become the norm. One of the everyday things of modern life, like flush toilets, and water from a tap. Online is no longer a luxury, not just a hobby, or a way of relaxing. It is becoming almost impossible to live an ordinary life, unless you are online.

Twenty minutes later, the phone activated. I re-booted the broadband, and it gradually returned to normal speed. No explanation, no text message from the engineers. It was off, and now it is on again. That’s about the size of it. During those twenty minutes, I became acutely aware of the power of the Internet. I also realised something. It is too late to go back now. We are stuck online.

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59 thoughts on “20 minutes with no Broadband

  1. gosh-I just had to have a new line and was without service a week-thusI am so very behind on everything. It gave me time to reflect on how “lonely” I was for my internet friends and also I had a lot of questions that came up and being use to getting answers quickly, well, I missed that too. Glad we are both back.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can imagine that, Abbi. I well remember writing on flimsy air mail letters to friends in Canada, and relatives there too. It has made the world a much smaller place.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  2. Oh, yes. I resisted for a decade but gave up and now like most everyone have a smart phone, a smart television, and high-speed internet. When I was in Spain, I forgo buying the international package for my phone and consequently was off the grid of normal exchanges and conducting business. It pinched, and I felt like you, how dependent we are now on invisible forces keeping us connected.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have made too many good friends (yes, I’m talking about you…) online to ever think about giving up on it now, Cindy. But I do resent the day-to-day requirements that force so many people to do everything online.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so dependant on it I have a backup dongle from a mobile phone provider and if that fails as well the local council provide free internet, albeit at a snails pace. Fingers crossed I have only ever lost one of the three at any one time. At least I don’t rely on a flushing toilet 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That was probably a good idea, Arlene. I am not sure that we can have broadband without a phone line here though, unless we subscribe to satellite or cable of course. Which I don’t.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Several month back, we lost our internet for 24 hours and I went nuts! We’ve “cut the cord” and don’t ha v e cable anymore, so we lost all our streaming service as well. Once it came back on I was a tad chagrined at how upset I got. We had dvds. I had both my Kindle books and print ones to read. It’s definitely scary at how reliant we’ve become.😕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve never had cable TV, and also never connected our TV to the internet, so at least wouldn’t notice any loss of streaming. I agree that we have become worryingly reliant on being online though, if only to keep in contact with people.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You are so right!! When my computer had to go in to have a virus removed years ago, even then If it was for all my books, I would have had to stay glued to the TV screen – and there’s rarely anything worthwhile on that thing!! Glad it was nothing major for you and only lasted 20 minutes!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I read this with great interest Pete. You are most fortunate to life in a developed country where something like this is fixed in 20 minutes. We have four hour power failures and if our broad band goes down it takes days to fix. We have both a generator and 4G as backups.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Robbie. I have a 4G phone, but that only works in Norwich, 20 miles away! At least we don’t have to have a generator, despite living in a rural area. But you have good weather, and let’s not forget- Pinotage!
      Best wishes, Pete. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Ive been there and ‘feel your pain’ as they say. Touch wood I haven’t had any problems since going with Virgin, but for some reason Phil has a nightmare getting online on his computer and Ipad, and he’s only 5 feet away from me. Fingers xt that’s the end of the problem for you. And yes, we are all living on line now, and can’t backtrack. C’est la vie. Until armageddon at least 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I vote for a backup system. We need to erect semaphore towers every 10 to 15 Kilometers apart, a grid if you will and staff them with the truck drivers who will be out of work because of self-driving vehicles and run then during daylight hours to minimize energy costs and increased reliability and go into direct competition with the WWW.
    Warmest regards, Theo

    Liked by 1 person

  9. So annoying… I suppose the solution would be to use an Internet café, assuming there is one in the vicinity. But we have become too reliant on this kind of thing, even if the electricity goes it’s a major disaster, no hot water, or heating, and where did one put those candles????

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The online dependency is frightening, Marina. For me, an ‘internet cafe’ means a four-mile drive to the town library, and only allowed one hour online there. Also, it closes at 5 pm!
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

  10. Dear Pete —- Your “Broadband Outage” story reminds me of something that actually happened to me here in the U.S. during our last major storm. The local television channel was broadcasting all the progress of the storm and the damage that had been done and the idiot announcer made sure to remind us all, “If you should lose power in your house because of this storm remember to stay tuned to this channel for further information.”

    Liked by 3 people

  11. That’s it, Pete – we are so controlled by broadband “signals” – powered by electricity, which we have no control over…it’s the way of the world, but having just experienced a 17-hour power outage, not having it really does isolate you in a way you never thought about before!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Oh the joys and frustrations of the internet! I find the automated phone answering the most painful. You need to get through, talk to someone for a very specific issue, and you are given a list of options none of which fit, and you find yourself yelling into the phone, ‘human being!’ I want to talk to a human being!” ~sigh~

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well said! Elderly people especially are less likely to have access. In rural areas, like me, it can be very erratic and slow. And when the internet fails how DO you get things fixed? We had a power failure one evening and I had no idea of who I should contact to report the fault. Even our mobile phones barely get a signal.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Try signing up to this, Jude, we did. They send text alerts about power cuts. It works in Norfolk, but of course depends on whether your phone can receive a text.
        http://www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk/internet/en/power-cuts/text-updates/
        We had two years and more of zero mobile signal at home. Eventually, we contacted EE and demanded a Boost Box. They wanted to charge us, but we said we would switch companies. So they sent it free, and now we always have full signal in the house.
        Check out this link, contact your provider, and see if you can get them to send you one.
        https://blogs.which.co.uk/technology/phone-networks/poor-mobile-reception-why-a-signal-booster-might-help/
        Best wishes, Pete.

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        1. I am with EE – the OH has BT mobile, so I’ll check this out. I think our landline phones can receive texts, but we never use that phone so I shall need to check! Thanks Pete 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  13. I’m familiar with theses problems. There was a couple of occasions where I was in Bonn and had to inform BT UK about a fault on the line in Cley. Luckily it hasn’t happened for a long time.
    I suppose you are right about getting stuck and trapped online. And if you can find any way out of it, then that’s a trap too. Just wanting to get out of the trap reinforces the trap.
    Love to you and Ollie, Dina x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Dina. I often wonder about just turning it all off, and reading instead. But life would be so hard to manage without it now.
      Love from Beetley, Pete and Ollie. X

      Like

  14. There had been difficulties with the broadband here in Munich as well, yesterday late in the evening. It did work extremely slow, so I got bored, turned off my computer, and also took some time to reflect about how life has been in all the long years before I discovered the WorldWideWeb. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Kerin. It reminds me of power cuts during the 1970s. We have to reflect on life before it all became too ‘convenient’. Fortunately, I am old enough to remember those times.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

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