RealTime IT News

AOL Claims 12 Million Mark

America Online Inc. announced today its worldwide online service membership has topped 12 million users, thanks in part to what the company said is "steady" new membership growth this year.

The new number represents an increase of one million members in the last three months; AOL announced it surpassed the 11 million member mark in January of this year. The company said it has added around 5 million customers since it introduced flat rate pricing in December 1996.

AOL's International service boasts over 1.3 million members outside the U.S., with 1 million of those users in Europe. The company's CompuServe service, which it acquired in September, 1998, reportedly has 2 million members worldwide.

Among some of the statistics released in an AOL statement today: the online service said it records 260 million member-hours online monthly; 25 million member sessions daily; peak usage of over 675,000 simultaneous users; and 28 million e-mails sent daily.

AOL also said its members spend an average of over 46 minutes online per day, and noted that 52% of its users are women compared to just 16% four years ago.

"To stay ahead of this membership growth, AOL continues to pay close attention to the expansion of the network to ensure our members' ability to access the service," said America Online president Bob Pittman, in a statement.

"We've continued to add at least 25,000 modems each month, and we recently announced that AOL will become the first national Internet online service to offer consumer field tests of high-speed xDSL broadband access."

In conjunction with GTE Internetworking, AOL reported last week it plans to conduct field trials for high-speed access to its service using Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) broadband services.

Trials are scheduled to begin in Birmingham, AL, Phoenix, AZ, the Greater Bay Area, CA, the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., and Redmond, WA. Pricing is set at $49.95 per month, which includes the monthly AOL subscription fee.