Remember Blockbuster Video? Many of you will recollect how a trip to the video store was once the cornerstone of any Friday or Saturday night, but it was killed by the streaming star and now we have every movie at the press of a button.
Across the US you'll find only abandoned stores; relics of a pre-Netflix past after Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy in 2010. But there's one place where you'll find Blockbuster still going strong – Alaska. There you'll find it has six stores, more than any other state. It is also home to a number of other independent video stores where customers flock to rent movies.
The reason behind why the 90s throwback still has its lights on in Alaska is down to one main reason: the internet is so pricey web users can rack up bills in the hundreds of dollars if they fancy a Netflix binge.
In the town of Anchorage, internet service providers offer eye-watering monthly tariffs for unlimited downloads, if at all.
In an article by Alaska Dispatch News it describes how residents chose to visit physical movie stores to watch the latest releases simply because they cannot afford internet.
"Pricey internet can put a damper on binge watching. At Video City on Muldoon Road, general manager Maurice Hamby said he once saw a woman come in with an internet bill that topped $900 from downloading movies," the Dispatch reported.
While residents are able to access high-speed broadband from ISPs such as GCI they could be facing a cost of $145 (£109) a month for only 500GB of data. With Full HD movies coming in at over 4GB each and with Netflix claiming streaming high-quality video can burn anywhere between 3-7GB per hour, internet users will be conscious of the cap. One Alaskan service provider states it will charge $1 per GB used if they go over the limit.
With lack of competition and scarce fibre availability prices are high. According to DecisionData.org, a website that publishes detailed information on internet and TV service providers, only 0.8% of residents in Anchorage can get high-speed fibre 1Gbps broadband. The rest of the homes are supplied via cable. A report by the Washington Post also added that not many ISPs even offered unlimited data until recently, instead charging by the gigabyte at a costly rate.
Compare that to the UK's fastest broadband from Virgin Media, which is clocked at up to 300Mbps, customers can get unlimited usage for £47 ($62) per month, and it's a significant difference.
An owner of an independent video store in Interior Alaska claims "the one reason he's still in business is that many of his customers can't afford internet." Alan Payne, the licensee of Blockbuster Video outlets in Alaska, agrees: "like at other stores here, the price of data helps his business."
Payne also admits there's an element of nostalgia at play too, helping to keep his Blockbusters alive. He claims customers will come in to buy T-shirts and take pictures outside with the iconic blue and yellow ticket stub sign.
Payne acknowledges though that sentimentality only goes so far and if internet access improves, the same writing could be on the wall as those empty stores littered across the US. He hopes though, that maybe one day, DVDs could see the same nostalgic resurgence as vinyl is seeing today.