AOL UK Extends Unmetered Access to All Consumers

[London, ENGLAND] AOL UK announced Wednesday that it is
extending its flat-rate Internet access plan to all
consumers including newcomers who have not previously
been members of its service.

Starting immediately, anyone in the U.K. can now obtain
unmetered access for a standard monthly fee of
£14.99 (approx. US $21). The fee includes all
subscription and Internet telephone costs plus unlimited
freephone member support — in stark contrast to the
so-called “free” Internet services offered by hundreds
of other ISPs.

“Today marks an historic turning point for the interactive
medium in this country, as we at AOL UK are fulfilling
our pledge to ‘Stop the Clock’ for UK consumers,” said
AOL UK Managing Director Karen Thomson.

AOL UK appears confident that it can cope with demand,
despite the fact that many other ISPs have offered
unmetered access — only to withdraw the service from
heavy users, or, in some cases, from all users.

However, Karen Thomson insisted that the service will be
sustainable. She spoke of AOL UK being ready to launch
the next phase of growth which is to “make AOL FLAT RATE
available to every household in the country.”

AOL UK also announced Wednesday that it has surpassed
one million members and hopes to attract even more
by its unmetered offering and the various promotions
that support it.

Among promotions already lined up is a one-month
trial of the service at no cost whatsoever, with up
to 50 hours of Internet usage included. The company will
also distribute CDs in 240 U.K. ASDA supermarkets from
mid-November.

Finally, AOL UK also announced new mobile and SMS mobile
services as part of its “AOL Anywhere” strategy. AOL Mobile
will provide users with one-click access to e-mail, news,
sport, weather, entertainment and stock market information,
together with many e-commerce opportunities.

“Mobile services are an important part of our efforts to
bring the next one million members online by building a
medium that is at the center of consumers’ daily lives –
anywhere, anytime and any way they choose,” said Thomson.

Making possible the breakthrough in Internet pricing in
the U.K. is Flat Rate Internet Access Call Origination
(FRIACO), a wholesale pricing methodology devised by
economists commissioned by AOL UK in early 1999. FRIACO
removes ISPs’ exposure to unlimited costs by enabling
them to purchase bulk capacity from BT on an unmetered
basis. Other ISPs besides AOL UK will be able to use
FRIACO.

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