I’m a Millennial. (I scored 34/100 on the Pew Research Center “How Millennial Are You?” Quiz., so maybe not that Millennial.) And despite what you may have heard about us, we’re not all spoiled brats who don’t value hard work. But one thing that almost of all us do value: high-speed Internet. I use it for everything: reading news, social networking, watching television, listening to music, talking to my family/friends in another country, and much more.
We first got the Internet at home when I was in fifth grade (this would be 1998 or so). We had dial-up, and we all shared an email address. Conveniently, that address was firstname.lastname@example.org. It was slow, I’m sure, but I don’t recall the slowness because it was all so new and I didn’t have anything with which to compare it, although I do recall counting to ten while waiting for certain pages to load. Also: lots of chain emails about BSB vs. ’N Sync. In high school, we got DSL. DSL was amazingly fast back then! Of course, I rarely did anything on the computer but use Yahoo!Messenger to chat with my boyfriend. Oh, and do my homework, of course.
Then came college. Internet was fast and cheap (if not free). The whole campus was connected to wifi: inside, outside, even down in the library basement. Ah, the good old days.
Leaving the land of fast, free Internet for my second venture to Spain in 2009
My first encounter with Spanish Internet was while studying abroad in Toledo. My friend had warned me that the Internet at the residence was abysmal, so I went in with low expectations. But these low expectations had to be lowered as well. The Internet worked about 50% of the time, but I never knew when or where to place myself in the building so that it would work. Skype conversations were all but impossible. I counted myself lucky, though, because most students lived with host families who—gasp!—didn’t even have Internet! To my “spoiled” self, not having Internet in 2008 was just weird. I mean, I could understand if you were 70+. But young university students all living together? That was just foreign to me.
Nowadays, in 2012, it seems to me that having Internet and Wi-Fi at home is much more common than it was just four years ago, in 2008. But it’s still way slower than I’m used to. Most people still have DSL. It’s not slow, but it’s not like the cable Internet I was used to in the States.
Another thing I don’t get: we live in Madrid, a large, cosmopolitan city with over three million residents. And only two companies could actually install Internet in our home: Movistar and Orange. No Jazztel, which everyone tells us to is the best offer. Nope, no such luck. I hadn’t heard good things about Orange, and Movistar is basically a monopoly, and who doesn’t love Monopoly? Thus, we chose Movistar. However, we found out that their DSL would only be able to provide us with an Internet speed that’s slow as molasses—and yes, that’s the technical term. So we’re (rather reluctantly) making the upgrade to fibra, fiber-optic Internet, which is indeed fast, but also expensive. But we’ve been waiting on them to come and upgrade for a week, and there have been no calls. Patience, patience …
In the meantime, I’m enjoying the molasses.