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AOL polishes up its product range
Wednesday 19 May 2004 11:29:00 by Andrew Ferguson

AOL is the latest of the providers to go below the £20 barrier for its ADSL services. Today brings the launch of its Silver product at £19.99 a month, this product runs at 256kbps in both directions, and is in uncapped in relation to both time and bandwidth.

The existing 0.5Mbps product is now called AOL Broadband Gold and will cost £24.99, and AOL Broadband Platinum is the 1Mbps service which will cost just £29.99. All prices include VAT. Perhaps the best news for new users is that the packages include a free modem and installation. For those signing up to the Gold or Platinum package before the end of May 2004, they will receive a free webcam. Existing users are not ignored, they will receive an automatic price reduction.

Karen Thomson, Chief Executive of AOL UK, is quoted as saying “Our in-depth research shows that very few consumers have any idea or interest in what a one or two Gigabyte (GB) capacity imposed by some providers actually means in terms of usage. In fact, many AOL Broadband members already use a total of more than 1GB of data each month and this is likely to increase as additional broadband features and content are introduced. This demonstrates the real comparative value of broadband services that have no usage limits.”

We must agree, plus there is a great deal of confusion in the market place, as to what 1GB per month represents. The service providers who are running with bandwidth limits need to ensure they are communicating what the limit means and give users the tools to monitor their usage. All too often marketing waffle gets in the way of providing a clear and easily understood message to consumers.

At least AOL has stuck to a clear and simple product range, the total AOL package may not be to everyone's liking, but with 325,000 broadband subscribers there are many who think otherwise.


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