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What would I do if my data line was cut?

Very recently I updated the control software in my Garmin nuvi 40LM, and I was reminded how good we have it as far as data accessibility is concerned. More on that in a moment.

I knew life before the Information Age, and sometimes I wonder if I could survive without all the data I use on a daily basis.

I've been a PND user (exclusively Garmin StreetPilot and nuvi models) since 2005, and to drive without that would actually bother me. I've been on the internet since 1996, and to go without that would really bother me. I've been using cell phones off and on since the early 2000s, and yeah if I had to give that up, yeah that would bother me too.

But what if my data line was cut? And what if that data line was cut everywhere? What would I do? How would I live? How would I communicate?

When I thought about it, how I'd live would go back to basically how I used to live, with a few extra things added in.

Long-distance communications

The first thing I'd do is sign up for a POTS line so I'd actually have a working phone line in my place.

The second thing I'd do is get a clunky old PC with a dial-up modem in it and put a BBS online using that POTS line. I'm sure that in a short period of time it would be flooded with calls so people could send emails to each other. To spread the word about it, I'd put up a local flyer at the post office.

For those interested in which BBS system I'd use, I'd use Synchronet due to the fact there's a version that would run in Win2000 or WinXP with no problem at all.

I am quite certain that if the internet went down, the phone grid would still be up - but only for voice communications and not texting since texting is so intimately tied to internet these days. If the internet was down, I'm sure texting would cease to function. I am quite certain BBSes would make a massive comeback in a very short period of time just so people could send their emails over long distances. I'd even bet that FidoNet would experience messaging on a scale never seen before, all with phone lines, and I have no doubt of this because the system is there, completely functional and ready-to-use.

The third thing I'd do is seek out the nearest ham radio club, join it, and then get a cheap mobile ham rig for my truck. In the event I broke down somewhere, I could radio for help while on the road if there wasn't a call box near by - assuming that you could even find a call box these days.

The fourth thing I'd do is start using good old-fashioned postal mail a whole lot more. I'd be sure to run out and buy an address book to write in all my contacts, because yeah, I'd need it.


I'd start buying DVDs a whole lot more since there would be no internet and therefore no Netflix. I'd also go out and buy a stronger DTV antenna so I could receive local channels easier.

I am sure that DVD sales would see a massive sales spike if the internet went down. I'm also sure that movie theaters would be absolutely packed every weekend too.


If internet is down, that probably means all the ATMs would be down, so debit and credit simply wouldn't work.

I wouldn't have any issue going back to cash, checks and money orders, because paying bills that way isn't a big deal for me. The only sucky part is the cost of postage and envelopes which would add in a few bucks a month just to pay the bills. But I'd deal with that and mail out the bills each month because, well, I'd have no other choice other than driving to each business to pay the bill in person. And that would be a waste of gas. It would be cheaper just to mail out the bills.

Getting around

Although I highly doubt GPS would go offline due to the fact it operates completely independent of internet as it's a totally different system, if I lost the ability to use it, I would run out and buy a Florida State atlas as they are readily available if you know where to find them (such as an RV center).


I'd probably hit the papers and start advertising that I'm a guitar player looking for a working band, and then attempt to make a living as a working musician. In Florida this is possible to do. While I would have to play a ton of songs I hate, it would pay the bills.

It could even be that with internet down, a huge music scene would develop because so many people would be out and about every weekend looking for good entertainment, so maybe being a working musician would actually pay off quite well. Hey, it could happen.


With the data line cut, I would technically still be "online", but just in an older form of landline phones and radio communications. I'd still be able to get entertainment from over-the-air television, DVDs and books (I'd probably be going to the library a lot). I could still drive around and if I had to go places that were unfamiliar to me, the road atlas is there for that. And it could very well be I could make my livelihood by playing guitar.

In other words, I could survive. It would just be the early-1990s all over again. While I'm sure there would be many that would just FREAK OUT, I wouldn't because I know what to do just in case the data line is ever cut.

Will the data line ever be cut?

Interesting question, to be sure. Hopefully that will never happen.

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