My attempt to use Dial-Up Internet to watch Netflix

Front side of US Robotics 56K Modem
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license

Dear Minister Moore,

Was reminded of a story on Saturday that I thought you might enjoy.

As you know, I was busy last summer documenting preparations related to Canada’s digital television transition.

I happened to have my netbook on me at the time and I decided to show my parents how works.

Problem was, my parents’ place in Denbigh, ON only has dial-up Internet.

I figured it was a good opportunity to put Canada 3.0 to the test so I went for it.

After dialing into the Bell telephone landline Internet connection (officially 56k but you only get between 30k and 40k) , I made my way to and searched for Mad Max.  I clicked on the film’s icon and it started to load.

I told my folks it was going to take awhile and that we should start some (analogue) Scrabble or something and come back later. Mom was worried about the cost (dial-up is charged by the second) but she agreed that it was a worthy contribution to the field of ICT research in Canada.

After 30 minutes or so, a full five seconds of the film had loaded.

We gathered around my netbook and I hit play.

To our surprise, the first five seconds of Mad Max played perfectly.

The picture and sound was top notch for those five seconds before the buffering started again.

Seeing that it likely cost $5 to load just five seconds of a film featuring a disgraced movie star, we opted to disconnect the modem and get back to Scrabble.



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2 Responses to My attempt to use Dial-Up Internet to watch Netflix

  1. Brenda says:

    Being south west of Denbigh I am all too familiar with the rural ‘dial-up’ woes.
    Not that this will help your folks but I am with KOS (Kingston Online) and I have the ‘Lite’ package. The cheapest is to pay by the year (149.50) although that has also increased due to the lovely HST. Trouble is, the access numbers are either Belleville or Kingston and I think Denbigh is long distance to anywhere?
    Another trick I have used is to dial that 10-10-710 (Caztel) ahead of a long distance access number. That way you get 110 minutes for 99 cents. One has to watch they don’t go over the 110 minutes or if the connection drops out and you have to dial back in, you’re charged the 99 cents for however long you were connected. I think you get my drift?

    • Good info, Brenda. The area code for Denbigh is 613. I don’t think it’s long distance to dial in to the Bell Internet but it is still charged by the minute. I’ll check out KOS.

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