The Internet has changed so much in the last 12 years it is almost hard to fathom. When you look at what we pay for high speed Internet access now, it’s almost hard to imagine it ever being another way…but it was…oh boy, it was. In 1995 getting online was done in an almost completely different way, and access to online services were charged for, in most cases, BY THE MINUTE like a long distance phone call.
Here is a breakdown of some of the most popular online services from back then, and what it cost to access them.
America Online – Back in 1995 this was probably the most popular online access solution. For the $9.95 base fee, you got 5 hours of online access, after that it was $2.95 an hour.
CompuServe – CompuServe tried a slightly different approach charging $9.95 a month for unlimited access to over 100 basic services. Access to forums and other extended services cost extra, however. To access those forums you would have to pay $4.90 per hour, which was billed in one minute increments.
GEnie – Probably the most expensive online service available back then, GEnie cost $8.95 a month for 4 hours of non-prime time access (that’s before 8:00 am and after 6:00 pm, plus weekends and holidays). It was $3 an hour after that. There was also a surcharge if you wanted to go online during prime time hours.
Prodigy – Prodigy was priced exactly like America Online. $9.95 a month for 5 hours of basic access, then $2.95 an hour after that.
So next time you’re complaining about the $50 a month or so you spend for online access, think about the fact that in 1995 that same constant connection would have cost you around $2100 a month…and it was dial-up!