Reaction to RIM and Rogers Internet Outage

by Istvan Fekete on January 14, 2013

internet outageThe most recent Internet service outages experienced by Rogers users in southern Ontario and elsewhere on Wednesday night, and RIM service outages across the Middle East, Europe and Africa, have sparked considerable outrage, which just underlines once again how Internet-dependent we have become.

The funny thing is that a vast majority of people don’t actually count their mobile phones or smartphones as “Internet”, Pew Research has found. They say something like, “I never use the Internet; I just use my phone for Facebook”, showing how deeply the Internet provided by wireless carriers has integrated into our lives.

The Internet has become a utility for most people, and we expect it to work. Just a quick example, as presented by Aimée Morrison, an associate professor at the University of Waterloo, specializing in digital media studies: I say I’m going to listen to the radio, but I am actually using my TuneIn Radio app on the smartphone, because I don’t have radio anymore (or just use one of the iTunes Radio streams). Also, with the tendency to cut the cord, when I say I’m going to watch TV, it’s Netflix that I watch, which is Internet-connected as well. When I make a phone call, for instance I call Rogers to see what happened, I will use my VoIP app, because I dumped my landline several years ago.

We realize our dependence on being connected only when the service stops working. According to Morrison, people feel very vulnerable and frustrated when their Internet goes down.

And at that point, it doesn’t matter what the cause is: Rogers still doesn’t know exactly (or they just didn’t disclose the reason to their users) what caused the outage, while RIM’s outage was caused by a Vodafone router problem in its network.

Connectivity is obviously more deeply integrated into a college-aged youngster’s life. A global initiative researching how deeply we are connected showed that being unplugged simply freaks out most of these kids. An interesting note here: at some colleges in the US, it’s now considered unethical to ask people to unplug for 24 hours, because they would say everybody they know would panic if they were not on Facebook, because they’re there so much . . . or something like, “I can’t complete my homework without the Internet”.

Written by: Istvan Fekete. Follow by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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