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Staying connected, but at what cost? - Zach Porter

Right now, like most people my age, I do not own a home phone. With long distance calling from anywhere to anywhere across the U.S. on a cell phone, then what is the point of having a land line when it can cost you just for the basic service that you do not really need? What is worse is that in most places you must pay for a basic phone line in order to receive high-speed Internet access.

In Georgia a basic phone line will cost you around $25 whereas in San Francisco it is less than $6 - this according to a recent business article in The New York Times. Can you believe it? San Francisco is supposed to be one of the most expensive places to live in the universe but you can get a dial tone for next to nothing. However much those trendy liberated folks out there are overpaying for rent, they must be making it up in phone bill savings.

My main problem is that I want to stay connected to the Internet at a high speed but I don't really want a phone line at home except for emergencies or quick local calls. Smaller companies are now offering basic phone lines through your home computer for the price of a fast- food combo meal. All you need is a computer with a phone jack and modem. That will satisfy my need for a land line.

As far as the Internet I'm going to go with a cable provider because they apparently throw in basic cable for free. But why can't we just have one device that does everything for us? That is what I really want, consolidation! I'm waiting with bated breath for a tele-dingus that will have a signal everywhere I go, connect me to the Internet at ultra-high speed, and play MP3s and video files. We are not quite there yet on the commercial end but I can't wait.

I hope we see smaller companies come up to compete with larger ones for phone and high speed Internet services. Right now it seems like high prices for slim pickings. If you just want one thing they try to sell you a "package" of pricey options you will barely have time to take advantage of while still shelling out for your cable Internet and your Cell phone bill.

A few years ago I did not have a cell phone or know much about Digital Subscriber Lines. But now I shudder at the thought of not being able to make a call from my cell phone. The other night the battery lost its charge and I felt as if I was left for dead in the desert without water. The same goes for the high-speed Internet: Who has time to wait for pages loaded with audio and video goodies to download? Once something is introduced into society like the television, the telephone, the cell phone, or the iPod, you can't seem to remember how you functioned without it.

Zach Porter is a photographer with the News Daily. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753 ex. 248 or zporter@news-daily.com .