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RealTime IT News

AOL Passes 14 Million Members

America Online Inc. has now passed the 14-million-member mark, a milestone the company attributes to continued growth momentum and a successful launch of the new AOL 4.0 access software.

The company, which gained a reported 2 million members since April, also set several other milestones in October. AOL sent more than 1 billion e-mail messages over its network and can now handle 850,000 simultaneous users compared to 533,000 just one year ago. AOL member Web sites are now recording 1.3 billion hits daily, three times the level a year ago.

While AOL's capacity has grown substantially, it hasn't come cheap. The service has spent hundreds of millions over the past two years to boost its system capacity.

To keep pace with the growing membership, AOL continues to expand AOLnet, its dial-up network. The total number of modems in the network has grown past 925,000.

International growth has also been strong, hitting a record of 1.7 million members. AOL said its members now spend an average of 46 minutes a day on the service.

AOL President and Chief Operating Officer Bob Pittman attributed much of the growth to the strong AOL brand and its easy-to-use interface.

"AOL's brand name, convenience, unmatched content and ease-of-use continue to attract more and more mass market consumers to our service. Heading into this holiday season, we are confident that accelerated membership growth and increased usage will add to our strong global momentum," he said.