Why I’m getting rid of the internet

My friend recently got rid of his internet service after he and his wife decided they were beholden to streaming television. Now, he forces himself to watch TV on his smartphone. Turns out it’s hard to binge-watch Netflix on a 6-inch screen.

I liked the concept, but for a different reason.

Every January I go to Florida with our swimming and diving teams for their training trip. For ten days we stay in a hotel, eating together, sleeping together, and training together. There’s no need for outside entertainment since you’re surrounded by people you love all the time.

Returning to Fredonia can be a depressing experience, not because of the temperature difference, but because of the loss of community. I come back to my apartment, and instead of being surrounded by people I’m surrounded by gadgets: a TV, Xbox, cell phone, laptop, refrigerator, and a shelf full of books. If it weren’t for my job I’d hardly need to leave.

I want to see what happens when I get rid of some of it.

Without the internet at home I’d need to go to the library often. I’d run into people there all the time, and I might even make a new friend. I’d need to be more intentional about when I publish my blog posts, so I’d need to get better at scheduling my time, which can’t be a bad thing.

It’s an experiment: After a month I might hate it and go back to being an at-home internet user.

[Update: I wrote this post two days before publishing it, and my plan backfired somewhat.

I called Spectrum and asked them to cancel my internet service. The nice man on the other end gave me three options: downgrade to a slower speed (I had no idea I was at a higher speed), put my service on hold, or cancel it outright. 

The lower speed would cut my cost in half, from $60/month to $31/month. I could put the service on hold for $5/month. Or, I could cancel and have someone come uninstall it. The catch was that if I cancelled, then decided in the future to renew, I would have to pay for someone to come install it again. 

Pressured in the moment, I decided to downgrade the speed, cutting my cost in half. I felt glad to have saved $30/month, but ashamed that my experiment had failed before it even started.

Here, it’s worth noting that I was barely affected by the slower speed. Netflix took slightly longer to load, as did Twitter, but overall I would never go back to paying $60/month for internet. I do not play Fortnite, so I don’t know what would happen with online video games.

I’m still considering putting the service on hold as an experiment, but this served as a reminder that there’s a big difference between saying what you’re going to do, and actually doing it.]

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