I’ve had a home internet connection for quite a long time. Originally I used Compuserve (I’m not too proud to admit it) but I’m pretty sure that I had switched to Demon before the beginning of 1995.
At the time there weren’t really many other options to choose from if you wanted a real internet connection (as opposed to the gated communities of services like Compuserve or AOL). For a “tenner a month” (plus VAT) you got a pretty much unfiltered connection to the net, a little bit of web space and as many email addresses as you wanted. Just about anyone who was connected to the net at home at that time used their service.
For fifteen years I stayed with Demon. It was partly a habit and partly a kind of badge of honour. It didn’t prove conclusively that you were around near the start of the UK’s home internet usage, but it might be seen as a bit of a hint. I moved to ISDN with them and, later, to ADSL (and now ADSL+).
But at some point in that fifteen years the company changed. The company was sold to Scottish Telecom (now Thus) in 1998 and I think that it all started to go wrong soon after that. Over the last couple of years, there have been a few extended connectivity outages when it’s been impossible to get through to anyone in technical support in order to find out what’s going on. It’s a bit galling to hang on a phone for an hour listening to a recorded message suggesting that you check their web site – when you’re trying to tell them that you have no internet connection.
Today was the day of the change. My Demon connection vanished in the middle of the afternoon and when I got home we got the new connection working.
I do feel a bit nostalgic. It’s been years since I used the firstname.lastname@example.org email address or the mag-sol.demon.co.uk web site, but it’s strange to think they’re both completely dead now.
One change though. It appears that Be don’t have a Usenet service. I could sign up for something like EasyNews – but, to be honest, it’s quite tempting to just forget about it. I think it’s been almost ten years since I really had an interesting conversation in a newsgroup.
Is there anyone out there still using Demon? Why?