EarthLink big plan to make dial-up faster: Use mobile sites

EarthLink is using a novel way to boost dial-up access speeds: Ignore the fancy graphics and go right to the mobile versions of Web sites.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

EarthLink is using a novel way to boost dial-up access speeds---use mobile versions of Web sites.

The company's announcement that it could dramatically boost dial-up speeds sounded interesting. After all EarthLink said that it could "speed of the online experience for dial-up Internet access users by up to 80%."

The details, however, were a bit of a letdown. In a nutshell, EarthLink is launching a "faster site finder" feature in the EarthLink Toolbar that alerts users when a faster version of the site is available. That faster version is typically the mobile version of a site.

EarthLink notes that mobile versions of popular Web sites give you an 81 percent speed boost over a 53.2 kbps dial-up connection.

The company says:

Using the EarthLink Toolbar to identify faster sites can reduce page load times in certain instances from 4 minutes to less than 30 seconds, as some faster sites loaded as quickly as 10 seconds over a dial-up connection.

Now the natural inclination for folks is to laugh at EarthLink's focus on dial-up speeds, but the company has more than 1 million subscribers. In addition, there are 10 million to 12 million people that still use dial-up access. AOL and EarthLink consider these folks a nice recurring revenue stream.

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