It’s a Wonderful Internet: An End-of-Year Reflection

Imagining a life without internet access can show us how much it impacts our lives—in ways big and small

Roger Duclos
It’s a Wonderful Internet: An End-of-Year Reflection

The end of the year is almost upon us. It’s a time of celebration for many, but also a time to pause and reflect. If you’re like me, you probably get so caught up in your day-to-day responsibilities at work and home that you rarely stop to think about the things that make our everyday lives possible. With 2021 wrapping up and 2022 still a couple weeks off, right now feels like the perfect time to stop and change that.

One thing we all take for granted these days is internet access. You don’t even have to be all that old to remember back when widespread internet access wasn’t a thing. Now, the internet has permeated every aspect of our lives so quickly and so completely that even if you were around for the pre-internet days, it can still be hard to remember exactly what they felt like.

I think it’s no coincidence that many of our holiday traditions center around gaining new perspective on something once taken for granted. Take the film It’s a Wonderful Life. Regardless of what you think about the movie—holiday classic or overly sentimental trash—its core plot can be a useful thought exercise. In the movie, the protagonist gains a new appreciation for his own life after seeing how different things would be for his family and community if he had never been born. In a similar way, imagining our lives without internet access can help us understand just how important it really is.

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Utp cable connects to the interfaces of the main office router. Many yellow internet wires connect to the network switch in the server room.  Information technology concept.

Imagining a world without internet access

You wake up in the morning and get ready to go to work. Without internet access, you’d obviously be required to go to the office in person. Cloud-based communication and productivity tools, like the ones we’ve all relied on so heavily over the last two years, would be of no use to you. Instead of sending messages to your colleagues from wherever you are, and getting a response from wherever they are, you’ll have to hope you can connect in person at the office. If not, you could be stuck playing telephone tag for the rest of the day.

As you get into your car to start your commute, you won’t have access to navigation tools that help you avoid accidents or congestion along your route. Instead, you’ll have to hope your radio is tuned to the right station at the right time to hear the traffic report. If you’re stuck listening to yammering commercials while you wait, then so be it.

Next, imagine you’re at work. Even though collaboration and communication are extremely difficult, perhaps you’ve managed to get a bit of work done this morning. To help keep your momentum going, you decide to get lunch delivered from your favorite sandwich shop. Instead of reaching for your device and pulling up your delivery app of choice, you’ll have to place a call, wait on hold, and hope they can take down your order right. Even if delivery is still available, electronic payments won’t be, so you’d better hope you have enough cash in the right bills to pay for your order.

After you leave work, perhaps you need to knock out a few errands, such as buying holiday gifts for family members. Instead of researching and placing an order without having to leave your own home, you’ll have to drive to the store, hope you come across a gift idea you like, stand in line to pay for the gift, and then fight traffic on the way home.

Finally, your day is almost complete. Instead of settling in on the couch for a night of streaming—watching exactly what you want, when you want to watch it—you’ll be completely at the mercy of the broadcasters. Even if you find something you want to watch, you’ll watch it on their schedule—and be forced to sit through commercials while you’re doing it.

Internet access helps enable key industry use cases

So far, we’ve focused on some of the simpler ways the internet impacts our everyday lives. These are situations where internet access is nice to have, but where going without it would ultimately be a minor inconvenience. However, when we look at things from an enterprise perspective, removing internet access could impact our lives on a greater scale.

For instance, the healthcare industry is extremely reliant on internet access—for connecting with patients via telemedicine visits, storing and accessing electronic medical records, sharing data to enable stronger partnerships, and even performing remote surgeries.

For the government, internet access represents a key point of connection between agencies and citizens. In the U.S. and other countries, the end of the year means another tax season is right around the corner. Helping citizens get the right forms and fill them out correctly can be challenging even under the best of circumstances. I shudder to think how difficult it would be without internet access.

Finally, the manufacturing sector is facing many challenges that would all get a lot more challenging without internet access, including rising customer expectations and ongoing supply chain stress.

Equinix Connect offers a smarter way to get internet access

The moral of our little story is that we all depend on internet access, both in our day-to-day lives and in ways that may be less obvious. However, it’s also true that how you get your internet access matters. With Equinix Connect, your business can get the unique combination of rapid activation, high availability (at least 99.9% uptime guaranteed), and the convenience of integrated billing from a digital infrastructure partner you already know and trust.

To learn more, read the business impact study from the Enterprise Strategy Group. This study provides a deeper look at why choosing the right internet access supplier is so critical for enterprises, and the key criteria they can use to help them make the right choice.

 

…imagining what our lives would be like without internet access can help us understand just how important it really is.”
Roger Duclos
Roger Duclos Director, Product Marketing