What have I searched so far? https://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/as-late-as

Can you please explain the meaning of as late as in simple words in below sentence?

Sentence - the commercial use of VOIP started as late as 2004

Can I rewrite it this way: by the end of 2004, the commercial use of VOIP began to start?

Source of the information

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  • 5
    The sentence implies that readers might be surprised that VoIP was not in commercial use earlier than 2014. Nov 29, 2022 at 19:04
  • can u please share details of this source of info?
    – Pankaj
    Nov 29, 2022 at 19:06
  • OK, but don't say began to start. Begin means start. Use one or the other, not both. Nov 29, 2022 at 21:06
  • There's a misunderstanding of late to mean late in the year, which it doesn't: "By the end of 2004." Consider: As late as I was, Mom still gave me lunch. TV shows started as late as 6PM in my country. Nov 29, 2022 at 23:34
  • The default reading of 'The commercial use of VOIP started as late as 2004' is 'The commercial use of VOIP started in 2004, which is surprisingly late.' You are perhaps paraphrasing 'The commercial use of VOIP started ... well, now let me think. It could have been as late as 2004.' Nov 30, 2022 at 17:10

1 Answer 1


No, you can't rewrite it in that way.

The sense is (Since the service was first developed in 1973) it is surprising that it only went into commercial use in 2004. That is, 2004 is later than people might expect.

See Merriam-Webster

  • can I say that as late as can be used when comparing things with something else?
    – Pankaj
    Nov 30, 2022 at 14:01
  • "John had sent a message that he would be late for the meeting, but I missed my bus so in the end I was as late as he was." Nov 30, 2022 at 14:08

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