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AOL increases prices to non-LLU areas
Wednesday 23 May 2007 12:10:37 by Andrew Ferguson

AOL was acquired by Carphone Warehouse back in 2006 who charge a premium for those not on one of their LLU exchanges. AOL is to do the same now with a £10 a month surcharge if you are not in a 'selected area', equating to about 40% of the population.

AOL has been a LLU player for sometime in a slow but steady way, clocking up over 300 unbundled exchanges. It is now owned by the same people who own Talk Talk, and we'd expect that they have access to the Opal LLU hardware which is installed in many more exchanges.

The LLU pricing is £14.99 for Broadband Silver, an up to 2Mbps service using 0.5Mbps, 1Mbps or 2Mbps fixed speed products depending on your distance from the exchange. Broadband Platinum is £29.99 for a rate adaptive up to 8Mbps product. Interestingly, the footnote for Platinum says 'Download speeds from 2 to 8 Mbps depending on where you live and technical factors such as the quality of your telephone line', which is difficult to do since rate adaptive ADSL can run slower than this on longer lines. This suggests AOL may only put those with a short line onto the Platinum product. It is also interesting to see it says download speed which could be interpreted by some as a statement of the contention levels of the service, when it is not.

If not in one of the selected areas, i.e. not on an LLU exchange with AOL hardware in it, then you add £10 to these prices making them £24.99 and £39.99. This is a pretty high price for a product that, while labeled as unlimited, does have a fair usage policy. People will need to weigh up the savings things like the free connection, free wireless router and the one month free service offer, remembering they will be committing to an eighteen month contract.

The situation with existing customers is unknown at this time, but we presume they will pay the same as they do now with a possible change as they come to the end of the contract terms.


Posted by paddyclark over 10 years ago
one of the least desirable ISPs goes one step further and becomes one of the most unattainable. Given the recent BTW cuts in price and most other ISPs price/capacity movements in the other direction it seems a strange move. Add to that the speed limiting and uncomprehending customer servive then they will not make many enlightened peoples top 10 or 20 prospective suppliers.
Posted by keith_thfc over 10 years ago
Why would anyone pay £30 for a fake unlimited 18 month traffic shaped LLU service with AOL?

Jeez - you know they have something to hide when they need to force you intl a contract that long.

If you have LLU in your area chances are you have SKY, UKOnline, be* and Bulldog, all of whom provide a clean + genuinely unlimited service.

And best of all you avoid AOL's dreadful support.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 10 years ago
Quote "£10 a month surcharge if you are not in a 'selected area', which means about 40% of the population." Well done AOL I suspect the men in white coats will be along any second to take you back to your home, who the hell is gonna pay £39.99 for a basic ADSL MAX product from an undesirable company??? They have officially lost the plot.
Posted by ETEE over 10 years ago
TalkTalk LLU is FMPF using Huawei MSANs whereas AOL LLU is SMPF using Fujitsu DSLAMs. This set up does not appear to become more integrated but the two services do share backhaul circuits.
Posted by SBRYANS605 over 10 years ago
What a joke.

ETEE... Could you please explain a little more about TalkTalk LLU is FMPF using Huawei MSANs whereas AOL LLU is SMPF using Fujitsu DSLAMs please. I know I am on the Fujitsu DSLAMs and have been since March 2006. Is there any benefits of that LLU equipment rather than the TalkTalk one.

What is FMPF and SMPF please?

Posted by JohnUK over 10 years ago
SBRYANS605 try the forums?

I wonder if this is going to become the trend until BT have proper 21CN rollout appearing?
Also will it spur Ofcom to stop LLU companies splitting the market like this or are they still up the arse of Cable and anyone non-BT?

If Virgin Media can open wholesale up to Cable and Wireless, why not others too?

It's about time everyone was brought up to the same conditions and scrutiny as BT.
Posted by ETEE over 10 years ago

TalkTalk LLU uses Full Metallic Path Facility which means the line is fed directly into the MSAN which handles both broadband and telephony. TT charge line rental (and rent the line from BT).

Shared Metallic Path Facility as used by AOL and most other ISPs use DSLAMs for broadband and BT still have access to the line and so you can have any choice of telephone provider. BT usually but not always charge line rental directly.
Posted by ETEE over 10 years ago
CPW seems to be keeping their two services seperate. However if you sign up for TT line rental with AOL you are likely to be moved to the TT BB service.

The backhaul is most likely to affect individuals with contention and this is being shared with TT and AOL services. Otherwise the service is likely to be the same. The Huawei MSANs are ADSL2+ capable (but capped at 8megs).
Posted by herdwick over 10 years ago
Now we know how CPW plan to kill off the AOL brand and build up Talk Talk.
Posted by ant748 over 10 years ago
have just spoken to aol billing support about this issue and was told the extra charge will only affect new signups.

Lets see.
Posted by webwise over 10 years ago
Heh heh. Cowboy Warehouse does it again. I used to have a 2mbps Onetel account. It always ran about 1.8mbps. Cowboy Warehouse took over and my speed dropped to .2mbps at best,with regular drops, and as herdwick says, the Onetel brand is being phased out. This will happen to AOL.
Posted by chrysalis over 10 years ago
I think we are seeing price correction and I hope other providers follow suit. Broadband has been highly competitive in the retail market and the prices under £20 in many cases are unsustainable.

Interesting the note that the 14.99 product is 2mbit on good lines yet on a 17db attenuation line it is synched up at 576kbit.

Also any info if these surcharges will be applied to current customers or not? a £10 increase will be a big shock to many people almost doubling the price.
Posted by ALANAB over 10 years ago
I have been happy with A.O.L. for several years - but I was informed by them they would increase my download speed to 2mbs nearly six months ago - still on 1 mbs
Posted by ALANAB over 10 years ago
I have been happy with A.O.L. for several years - but I was informed by them they would increase my download speed to 2mbs nearly six months ago - still on 1 mbs
Posted by Lthomo20 over 10 years ago
I was happy with AOL til CPW took over, the FUP they introduced was terrible, the only one in the UK I could find that limits physical connection time, whether in use or not. And they were bloody impossible to shake, and desperate for custom, They offered me their Platinum package for £5.99 a month, so I'm guessing the other £24 is just raw profit then guys, huh?
AOL was getting to be very good, I recall rumours that sky were thinking of buying, which would of been interesting. But they're dead in the water now if you ask me, do they really think someone will sign up for £40 a month??? Fools.
Posted by wrinkley over 10 years ago
There is always a catch to inexpensive BB, I would love to exit TT but as I'm LLU its impossible to change isp unless its a 18 month contract with BT, as the line has to be disconnected from TT by BT. I could always go to BT for 3 months and use dial up. catch 22.
Posted by herdwick over 10 years ago
If you wish to leave TT and migrate to another fully unbundled supplier it should only take a few days - no need for any 18 month contract. If you go for a BT provided or partial LLU supplier you need to "return to donor" and regain direct control of your BT line but again this should take only a few days and isn't an 18 month contract.
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