This problem started in January 2011. I have an AT&T 3G wireless connection to the INTERNET. Response time had always been amazing with the 3G and Firefox. Starting one day in January I started having long delays with every website, page, etc., etc. that I accessed. The message "Connecting To 188.8.131.52..." appeared with everything I did.
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To confirm this, navigate to one of these slow pages in firefox and use the menus to find: View ==> Page Source You should see right at the top something like:
Given you're on a laptop, you probably don't want this image shrinking service so you need to block access the site "184.108.40.206". I'm sure you use to be able to block access to certain sites in the admin tool widget on FF5 but I couldn't find it anywhere. I installed a FF add-on called "blocksite" and told it to block "220.127.116.11". I noticed a significant improvement.
I actually had this problem on the UK telco O2 as well so it isn't just AT&T that is doing it.