AOL, Bell Atlantic Set High-Speed Partnership

America Online Inc.
subscribers in the Northeast will soon be able to access the service at
much higher speeds, thanks to a partnership the online service announced
Wednesday with Bell Atlantic Corp.


AOL said it will begin offering Digital Subscriber Line access to Bell
Atlantic’s DSL customers as the technology becomes available in the telco’s
major markets. America Online said DSL access will cost less than $20 more
than its analog rates.


Bell Atlantic has pledged to make ADSL available to 7.5 million homes in
its territory by the end of 1999 and to more than 14 million by the end of
the year 2000.


In addition to accessing AOL at faster speeds, AOL members who choose the
DSL option will be offered broadband-enhanced multimedia and other services.


The partnership is a big coup for AOL, which has been working feverishly
with cable and telephone companies to give its subscribers in areas served
by broadband access a way to connect to AOL at faster speeds as well.


The companies plan to jointly market the service to AOL members and Bell
Atlantic will be able to market optional products and services to AOL
customers.


James G. Cullen, Bell Atlantic’s president and chief operating officer,
said the agreement demonstrates the telco’s commitment to offering the best
in high-speed services.


“We’re creating a mass-market model for the millennium that adds value for
our customers and our company. Combining AOL’s marketing clout, convenience
and ease-of-use with Bell Atlantic’s technological leadership will provide
even more momentum to the interactive medium,” he said.


Bob Pittman, AOL’s president and chief operating officer, said the deal
ensures AOL members will be among the first to benefit from high-speed
connections.


“This announcement marks an important advance in our commitment to offer
affordable and convenient broadband access to those AOL members seeking
faster connection speeds,” he said.


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