Wednesday, August 2

AOL Going Free

Important AOL Announcement

I have been an AOL subscriber since 1999 so this is somewhat exciting. Time Warner announced it would no longer charge broadband users of its online service AOL in a move designed to boost advertising revenue. While the company will still offer dial-up access at $25.90 USD per month, it would no longer be aggressively marketed.

The switch to a free service is a real gamble for AOL -- the company is expected to lose about $2 billion in subscriber revenue as a result of the move, which must be made up in advertising. However, something needed to be done, as AOL has lost a third of its subscribers since 2002.

Products to be offered for free include AOL's signature integrated software application, AOL e-mail, instant messaging, a local phone number with unlimited incoming calls, and social networking applications.

An update is planned for the company's client, which could come in the form of AOL Streamliner, as well as new free products in security, storage, personalized e-mail domains, video and search. Streamliner is currently in beta testing and combines e-mail, Web browsing, instant messaging and a media center.

What Does This Mean for You?

Nothing about your service arrangement with us will change unless you want it to. Your current plan, which includes Internet connectivity, 24/7 customer support, unlimited email storage, your email addresses and all the AOL content and services you rely on, will still be there for you.

If you do at some point choose another provider to connect you to the Internet:

  • You can keep your AOL Screen Name and email address for as long as you want to use it, completely free;
  • You can continue to use your AOL software, and you can still get all your favorite features and content, completely free;
  • You will still get AOL's comprehensive safety and security tools, protecting you from online hackers, spammers and identity thieves, completely free.

All of this is free, no matter who provides your Internet connection.

Why Is AOL Doing This?

We're simply changing with the times. There are many options for Internet access, whether it's dial-up or broadband. At the same time, a lot of online content and services are now available on the Web free of charge because they are supported by advertising. So, while your Internet connectivity needs may change over time, what you love about the Web does not. We are now able to ensure that the familiar AOL experience, your Screen Name, your Address Book, your Buddy List, your Favorite Places, and other content and features you enjoy, will always be available to you for free.

In September, you will be hearing more about changes at AOL. Until then, you can visit AOL Keyword: New AOL for more information and to sign up for informative email alerts.

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