Dial-up Internet Frustrates Micanopy Hammock Residents

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 Tim Gant, who has his own wood working business, sands a cabinet. Gant had dial-up until about three years ago and does not have access to high-speed Internet unless he uses a satellite. He said emails with attachments between he and his customer took too long to load when he had dial-up.
Tim Gant, who has his own woodworking business, sands a cabinet. Gant had dial-up until about three years ago and does not have access to high-speed Internet unless he uses a satellite. He said emails with attachments took too long to load when he had dial-up. Photo by Lindsay Alexander/WUFT News.

Some residents of Micanopy are currently using dial-up Internet in their homes, but not by choice.

Residents of the Micanopy Hammock neighborhood, a collection of about a dozen homes in a rural area south of Gainesville, do not have access to high-speed Internet service because providers do not offer it in their area.

One resident, Helen Suits, said she uses dial-up on her home desktop computer.

Another, Tim Gant, said he used dial-up until about three years ago when he decided to switch to satellite because dial-up was too frustrating.

As of June 2014, seven providers offered Internet services equal to or less than 25 megabytes per second in the area surrounding Micanopy Hammock, according to the National Broadband Map. No providers offered anything higher.

With a speed of 25 MBps, one could download a 4 megabyte song in less than two seconds, according to the National Broadband Map’s website.

However, the providers do not service the Micanopy Hammock neighborhood.

Cox Cable doesn’t serve Micanopy. AT&T, which is the primary phone service provider in that area, will not run a DSL cable to the neighborhood, Gant said. An AT&T spokesperson, Karen McAllister, said in an email that the company considers factors like demand, growth and growth projection when deciding where to extend Internet service.

Gant said he used to call AT&T once a year to see if the company was going to offer faster Internet service. Suits said she used to ask the company the same question.

Suits goes to the public library to use the Internet if she thinks her dial-up will be too slow for what she is doing online.

As an artist, she often exchanges emails with picture attachments, and it can take an hour to send one picture with her AOL dial-up service.

Gant has lived in the neighborhood since 1985. He said when he had dial-up, he reached a point where he would be upset with anyone who sent him any kind of attachment because it would lock up his computer.

He thinks the Micanopy Hammock community shares the same consensus: It wants broadband, high-speed Internet access.

He didn’t know how he could have watched videos, and said a video probably would have taken all night to load.

“It was just insane waiting for anything,” Gant said. “You know if you’ve ever used dial-up. I’m 61. You know, I’d like to get some Internet stuff done before my time’s up.”

Now he pays for satellite Internet through HughesNet — $69.98 a month for 10 gigabyte of data a month. Between the hours of 2 a.m. and 8 a.m., he said he has an extra 50 GB per month available to him.

One could get 12 months of AT&T high-speed Internet with 250 GB per month for $30 a month, according to the AT&T website.

Gant said the problem with satellite is that it still limits how much data he can use, whereas broadband would be unlimited.

Because of this, he said he is constantly going over his monthly data amount and pays extra.

Gant’s household, which includes his wife Lisa and 17-year-old son Garrett, uses the satellite Internet data for things like email and Facebook.

Gant’s son Garrett, a high school senior, used a computer for an online economics class. He said he didn’t have problems with the Internet while taking the class.

Gant uses it for his woodworking business; he sends design files and pictures to clients, which will not go through in one email if they are too large.

“If I had broadband, I could pay a set fee with unlimited,” Gant said. “If I had that, it seems like it would make my life a lot easier.”

About Lindsay Alexander

Lindsay is a reporter who can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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