Happy birthday broadband, it's been 15 years since high speed internet has been making life easier. But do you remember the world before broadband internet speeds?

To put it in perspective, Virgin Media's 152Mb broadband service is 2,714 times faster than the typical connection of the late 1990s.

The appearance of high speed broadband has changed the way we live our lives. Everything is just easier now, but do you appreciate it?

We've compiled a list of things you used to do before broadband landed, which you no longer need to. Join us in appreciating broadband ahead of its fifteenth birthday.

Now you no longer have to…

If you've ever bought from the top shelf, you'll appreciate the shame that goes with the expense. Since broadband landed, with fast image and video downloads, taking some alone time is no longer synonymous with a dose of shame.

The internet itself brought free porn to all. But waiting on a dial-up connection while the image downloaded a line at a time redefined the term sex-tease. Now everything is instant, with video in high definition. In fact, we're pretty spoiled.

Online shopping has to be one of the best offerings of the internet. Now that broadband can offer fast connections, sites can offer high quality images and videos, all laid out on websites that are better built than most shops.

Next day delivery and lower rates thanks to online competition, mean shopping has been redefined by broadband. Even your groceries can be delivered now – a hermit's paradise.

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Gone are the days of going door-to-door comparing travel agent deals when looking for a holiday. Now you've got enough bandwidth to have multiple tabs open online, with maps, photos, videos and crowd-sourced ratings for every nook and cranny the planet has to offer.

Deals from various websites have cut down the number of travel agents now operating in the real world. Is it just us or did it feel a bit more exciting booking through someone in a uniform via a brochure magazine?

Before the likes of eBay and Amazon, selling anything meant loading the car up at the crack of dawn and standing in a field all day at a car boot sale. Gone are the ridiculously low offers that you had to stay patient to stomach.

Now even taking a photo and writing a description for an advert feels like an effort. Probably best to remember the sodden fields of car boot sales next time you put an ad online from your nice warm couch.


Broadband means high definition videos streamed directly to your TV. Before then, watching a movie required a video club membership, rental cost and, of course, returning the video in time to avoid fines.

Now using the likes of Netflix or Amazon Prime Instant Video, you don't even need to leave the sofa. Sure, you don't get to pick up a pot of ice cream with this rental style, but the worst part is having too much choice. Tough life.

Backing up to CD is gone, with burning CDs or DVDs a thing of the past thanks to online storage. With the likes of Amazon offering unlimited cloud storage, why risk backing up to solid state?

Thanks to a fast internet connection, cloud storage is now accessible so fast it's not much different to having files right there on your machine. And with cloud storage, you don't need to worry about losing the disc or getting it scratched.

Good old fashioned mail, or snailmail, is a thing of the past thanks to email. But it's broadband, especially via mobiles, which has really killed off mail. Thanks to always accessible email, social media and messaging services like WhatsApp, typing for instant communication is taken for granted now.

When was the last time you took up a pen and wrote a letter, bought a stamp and envelope and sent it? Exactly.

In general, there is far less human interaction now that broadband has offered enough bandwidth to get most things done at home.

Is this a bad thing? For some people, who are otherwise housebound, this is a great thing. But perhaps for those who would have used old world tasks to interact, it's a bit sad. Of course, that's not to say broadband stops socialising, it just makes it a bit more for its own sake than it once might have been.

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