RealTime IT News

AOL Taps SBC For DSL Service

America Online Inc. and SBC Communications Inc. are teaming to offer SBC's Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) high-speed connectivity to AOL users.

America Online said Thursday it plans to employ SBC's DSL as a premium upgrade this fall for AOL members in regions where SBC companies Pacific Bell and Southwestern Bell provide DSL service, including California, Texas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Kansas. Also included is Nevada Bell, which will launch DSL service later this year.

SBC's DSL upgrade will provide eligible AOL users with high-speed bandwidth to their personal computers over existing telephone wires. SBC's DSL access will allow AOL members to connect to the Internet at speeds up to 1.5mbps, more than 50 times faster than with a standard 28.8 kbps. analog modem. Currently SBC has connected the DSL service to 2 million homes, and the company expects to expand DSL availability to 8.4 million homes by the end of 1999.

America Online said it will announce pricing for SBC's DSL upgrade upon launch. It is expected that the DSL upgrade will cost AOL members $20 extra per month.

"SBC is moving fast to meet customer demand for bandwidth. Our agreement with AOL to provide DSL through its powerful distribution channel is yet another step we're taking to make high-speed Internet access available and affordable to customers," said Royce Caldwell, president of SBC Operations.

"Working together, SBC and AOL will make DSL upgrades affordable and convenient for our members in California, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas and Nevada, and combined with AOL's DSL agreement with Bell Atlantic announced in January, will allow AOL to offer our members DSL upgrades in 21 states," said Bob Pittman, America Online's president and chief operating officer.

The agreement is subject to FCC review of ADSL tariffs that Pacific Bell and Southwestern Bell will file for volume purchasers.