For many, the metallic screech of a dial-up tone sparks waves of nostalgia—nostalgia that sounds like a robot being tortured, but nostalgia nonetheless. Dial-up appears to be merely one of those 435 Struggles Only People Born After The Invention Of Electricity, Airplanes, And Antibiotics Would Consider Struggles, a technology as obsolete as those AOL install CDs that used to come in the mail every damn day. Except it’s not.
Speaking of AOL, the company recently released its third quarter earnings for 2014, a report that reveals the fact that 2.2 million people still pay for AOL’s dial-up Internet service. While this number is surprisingly high, it’s also falling rapidly, as AOL reported 2.4 million dial-up customers in the first quarter of 2014 and 2.3 in the second. (That’s down from a peak of over 25 million paying monthly customers in 2002.) But, like everything ’90s, AOL is coming back—the company reports a 12 percent gain in overall revenue for 2014, presumably from people signing up ironically.