It's not uncommon to have a high-speed internet connection in this day and age. Though the speeds may vary, most everyone has turned away from using an analog-to-digital 56k phone line connection. Are we better for it? Yes, most definitely. Not only would online gaming be nigh unto impossible without high speed, but simple things like paying your bills online would be a lot less trustworthy because of the latency issue.
It's no secret that phone line connections have a 400 to 1200 ms delay in sending and receiving information. These numbers may not seem so bad to the casual onlooker, but when you click the screen to move a character in World of Warcraft and it takes 5 seconds to actually happen, you might get a little upset.
So what? It's not like everyone still uses these types of connections, right? Department stores taking external modems off their shelves is just a sign that high-speed is becoming available in more places, right? Wrong. Modems maybe disappearing, but 15% of internet connections made are from 56k modems. If those modems break and can't be replaced, then we've just seen a 15% reduction in internet users.
5 years ago, fox news wrote an article on how some users avoid high-speed because it's too expensive. That's understandable considering if all you want is a bare bones connection, you can get a standard dial-up subscription for as low as $5.00 a month. It may be said that this is just a minority within a minority, however. Some places have high-speed half a mile away from them in all directions and can't get the local official in charge to extend it.
A big contributor to cable networks being unavailable in some locations is money being spent in manners other than what was intended. It's happened before.