AOL Beefs Up UK Dial Up

America Online, Inc. Monday picked up a pair of Pan-European providers to serve up dial-up access in the United Kingdom.

Viatel Inc. and Carrier1 International S.A. were
selected to join America Online’s portfolio of network
providers in the region.

The two service providers were quickly added in anticipation of demand for
AOL’s unmetered, flat-rate access plan launched in the U.K. last week.

According to a report by IDC, the
Internet access market in Western
Europe will continue to grow quickly due to the proliferation of
subscription-free services. But unmetered Internet access is the key to
success for fee-based service providers.

AOL may succeed in the region where other U.S. providers failed because
free services are so pervasive that basic Internet access needs to be
supplemented with unmetered access to drive user growth and demand for Net
services.

The AOL UK flat-rate plan
provides members with unmetered access for #14.99 a month. The pricing
scheme includes all subscription and Internet telephone costs through
unlimited free phone member support.

It may be just the ticket for AOL needs to ship its market dominating
position in the U.S. across the Atlantic to the U.K.

York-based Viatel provides a variety of IP-based narrow
and broadband communications services in Europe and the U.S. In the U.K.,
the firm owns and operates a 20-city fiber-optic network that enables it to
provide voice, data, and mobile communications services.

Michael Mahoney, Viatel chairman and chief executive, said the firm hopes
to hope to build on its U.K. relationship to extend its dial-up services
for AOL across Europe.

Carrier1 is a pan-European facilities-based
communications provider. Its inter-city fiber networks connect 12 European
countries with carrier-grade voice and data transport.

Initially, AOL’s dial-up deal with Carrier1 calls for two
points-of-presence in London and Manchester, but agreements are in place to
include as many as seven or eight UK connecting points.

Alex Schmid, Carrier1 executive vice president for strategic development,
said being selected by AOL validates the company’s quality of service and
network buildout strategy.

As part a joint venture with DigiPlex
S.A.
, Carrier1 is currently building eight full-service data centers
throughout Europe.

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