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Could you give up your home Internet service?

Would it just throw your work life balance completely out of whack if you gave up your home Internet service?

Well, people are doing it. WLRN, Miami's public radio station, reports that The Broward County Library System finds people are waiting in line, sometimes for a few hours, to use its computers with Internet access to check email or surf the Web. The demand has become so high that the Library System has installed more computers and created a designated floor that it calls the Cybrary. Certainly, in this age of frugality, disconnecting your home phone and/or eliminating the high-speed Internet service adds up to sizable savings to the monthly budget.

But I don't think the savings for me would be worth the stress on my family. When I first started at The Miami Herald, laptops were scarce. I would bring a floppy disk back and forth between the home and office to work on longer articles. That allowed me to leave the office and get home to my kids but if I was on deadline, I had to stay and sometimes miss putting my kids to bed. Having a laptop with Internet access and email capability from home affected my quality of life in a good way. It brought better balance. Now, my kids use the Internet from home computers almost daily for homework or research projects. I'd much rather give up something other than home Internet service to pare back monthly expenses.

I'm not alone. A recent survey of by Harris Interactive of 2,119 adults found access to the Internet ranked highest among the discretionary spending items they could not live without.

Still, if I didn't have kids and lived close to the libary, maybe it would be a cost effective move for me. Meanwhile, I think it's great that the libraries are responding to the increased demand. Smartphones may be another way to go. I'm not sure of the price comparison, and of course a phone screen is much smaller than a computer screen, but it could make it easier to give up home Internet service.

If you have given up home Internet service, is it working out for you? If you haven't, is it something you would consider?

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