“AOL Plus is part a larger AOL Anywhere strategy to enable members to
access our services no matter where they are or how they connect,” said AOL spokesman Marta Grutka.
As part of that initiative, AOL
will test a high-speed satellite
Internet service in key cities, including New York and San Francisco,
this month. Hughes owns DirecTV, which provides satellite television and Internet services.
The service, called “AOLPlus Powered by DirecPC,” is expected to come to
market by the third quarter of this year. The DirecPC system blends
satellite and telephone-wire technologies. America Online customers will
have to purchase a Hughes satellite dish to use the service.
The system will utilize AOL Plus, which is reported to deliver
information to personal
computers 14 times faster than a standard telephone-line modem.
“Any AOL 5.0 user who accesses us through a high-speed service
automatically gets AOL Plus,” Grutka said. “This is an enhanced multimedia
version of our service tailored for high-speed access.”
The relationship with Hughes aims to supplement the void between DSL and
access to Time Warner’s Roadrunner cable service. Over the last year, AOL has signed deals with Bell Atlantic, SBC Communications to offer AOL-branded DSL service.