Less than a decade ago, it was common to see an ISP offering prices as high as $29/month for a puny dial-up connection. These days, dial-up is considered “budget” Internet and is often in the $9-20 range. To some, that's fine, because the higher-cost alternatives of DSL, Cable, Wireless and others are just too expensive to consider. Not anymore, apparently. Although the offer only lasts one year, AT&T is offering DSL lines at 1.5Mbp/s for $12.99/month, a price tag that is lower than most dial-up providers and leagues lower than other broadband providers. A doubling of the line speed is offered for $17.99, making it perhaps the lowest cost-per-megabit broadband out there. There's a few catches, of course, as there always is. Like most DSL providers, they also require you to have home phone service through them, and after a year the DSL price changes to $29.99, more in-line with other providers.

Regardless of the nuances that come along with a year's worth of cheap service, it is an example of significantly changing cost structures in Internet access today. The cost of broadband is dropping, and the overhead involved with dial-up is becoming more of a headache for both users and ISPs. Perhaps in another decade we will see the death of dial-up. It wouldn't be a sad passing, either, for no one deserves 56k.