AOL to roll out enhanced broadband service

America Online (AOL) has enhanced its broadband service and has kicked off a series of ad campaigns promoting the enhanced...

America Online (AOL) has enhanced its broadband service and has kicked off a series of ad campaigns promoting the enhanced high-speed offering.

The company is set to roll out its latest version of  AOL 8.0 for Broadband on 31 March, in the hope of adding more to its broadband subscriber numbers. Although the internet service provider (ISP) has over 35 million subscribers worldwide, the majority are dial-up users.

"This is a new and differentiated offering," AOL Broadband head Lisa Hook said.

The service emphasises security, with a firewall and parental controls, as well as advanced e-mail features, expanded content and an increased ability for users to share content, Hook said.

AOL will also run a promotion for existing narrowband subscribers to switch to the company's bring-your-own-access broadband service, charging $9.95 (£6.30) a month for the rest of the year - $5 less than the normal rate.

When the company launched its 8.0 service late last year AOL head Jon Miller laid out what he said was a "clear and unwavering" broadband strategy, emphasising how important it was for the financially challenged company to access the high-speed market to spur the company's growth.

However, Hook said that the service was not an effort to shift its narrowband subscribers to broadband, rather to "move with its members".

She cited subscribers' increased demand for news, radio and on-demand access to information.

"We're starting to see subscribers use broadband like a newspaper - demanding one-click access," she said.

The service boasts the highly anticipated AOL Communicator feature, which sits on a user's desktop and allows them to monitor and check their e-mail while they do other tasks.

The service also includes expanded news content, such as a live feed from ABC News on the war in Iraq, as well as Instant Greetings and the ability to share radio stations with other users.

According to Hook, these improvements are just the beginning of the broadband offerings that the company has in store.

"This is not a company that is putting one product a year into the market anymore," she said. "You'll see continuous improvements."

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