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“I have a T1 to my house...”

In 1996, one would have been lucky to be able to have ISDN, so having a T1 was more like 'money is no object' territory.

In the late 90s a T1 cost about US$1,500/month. It came with a bunch of service guarantees and the like because it was aimed squarely at businesses. A T1 is only 1.5mbps too, fast for the time but in absolute terms not that great. The only other options were 56k modem (48kbps on a good day) and frame relay or ISDN, which was a solid 64kbps and lower latency than a modem but also far more expensive than it should have been (US$200-300/month).

ISDN ("It Still Does Nothing" to give its facetious full name from the time) lines were often bonded, usually to give 128kpbs though faster configurations were possible, though of course there was an increased cost for this.

Or you were in university/connected to a university.

The Swedish qwctf scene at least was very clearly divided in 20ms people who went to or worked at, a university, and 150ms people who played from home.

There were some 50-60ms ISDN people too but I can only remember a few.

The office of one of my early programming jobs had an ISDN line. I would carry my home desktop into the office to download things/play games.

The next job I had was in a much bigger company, and the office I was in had equivalent of 70+ T1s. Most of those were to support the phone system though.

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