America Online and Bell Atlantic Form Strategic Partnership to Provide High-Speed Access for the AOL Service
DSL Upgrade Begins Rolling Out this Summer to AOL Members
Bell Atlantic High-Speed Technology Available in Areas
Covering 14 Million Homes by End of Year 2000
January 13, 1999
Joan Rasmussen, Bell Atlantic
Wendy Goldberg, America Online, Inc.
DULLES, VA and NEW YORK, NY -- America
Online, Inc. (NYSE: AOL), the world's leading interactive services
company, and Bell Atlantic (NYSE: BEL) today announced a strategic
alliance to provide high-speed Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) access to the
In a significant step for the development of broadband availability,
America Online this summer will start to offer Bell Atlantic's Infospeed
DSL access as a premium upgrade for AOL members in Bell Atlantic's
service area, as the technology becomes available in major markets.
To support this multi-year agreement, Bell Atlantic plans to make its DSL
technology available in areas covering 7.5 million homes by the end of
1999, a number that Bell Atlantic expects to nearly double to more than 14
million by the end of the year 2000.
This DSL feature will provide AOL members with high-speed bandwidth
to their personal computers over existing telephone wires. At a typical
speed of up to 640 kilobits per second, DSL access will be more than 20
times faster than the standard 28.8 kbps modems.
In addition to high-speed access, AOL members who take advantage of
the DSL option will:
** Gain "always on" access to AOL, as no dial-up is required for DSL
users because they are always connected;
** Be assured of consistently high-speed access because DSL dedicates a
broadband connection to each individual user;
** Benefit from "AOL Anywhere," the features of which include enabling
broadband users to also connect to AOL when they are not at home;
** Experience broadband-enhanced multimedia and other services; and
** Be able to use their computer and telephone or fax simultaneously on a
single phone line.
America Online will be announcing DSL pricing when the roll out begins
this summer, but the DSL upgrade is expected to cost AOL members less
than $20 extra per month.
AOL also intends to offer a special version of the AOL software that will
provide DSL users with links to a customized Bell Atlantic Web site with
information on the company's products and services. The companies are
planning other co-marketing directed to AOL members with DSL access.
In addition, Bell Atlantic will have opportunities to offer AOL members
certain optional telecommunications products and services.
James G. Cullen, president and chief operating officer of Bell Atlantic,
said, "This first of its kind alliance with America Online demonstrates Bell
Atlantic's commitment to becoming consumers' first choice for high-
quality, high-speed data services. We're creating a mass-market model for
the millennium that adds value for our customers and our company.
Combining AOL's marketing clout, convenience and ease-of-use with
Bell Atlantic's technological leadership will provide even more
momentum to the interactive medium."
Bob Pittman, President and Chief Operating Officer of America Online,
said: "This strategic partnership with Bell Atlantic, one of the world's
great telecommunications companies and an industry leader in this
groundbreaking DSL technology, ensures that our members will be among
the first to have the opportunity to benefit from high-speed connections.
This announcement marks an important advance in our commitment to
offer affordable and convenient broadband access to those AOL members
seeking faster connection speeds."
Mr. Pittman added: "America Online has always been committed to
embracing all new technologies and features that offer our members a full
range of options to enhance their online experiences. With our industry-
leading membership base, we're excited about the prospect of helping to
build economically viable markets for broadband technologies. With our
Bell Atlantic partnership and other alliances in the future, we together can
begin to make the promise of broadband a reality for mass market
About Bell Atlantic
Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of
the new communications and
information industry. With more than 42 million telephone access lines in
New England, New York and the Middle Atlantic states and more than
eight million wireless customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies are
premier providers of advanced wireline voice and data services, market
leaders in wireless services and the world's largest publishers of directory
information. Bell Atlantic companies are also among the world's largest
investors in high-growth global communications markets, with operations
and investments in 23 countries.
About America Online
America Online, Inc., based in Dulles, Virginia, is the world's leader in
branded interactive services and content. America Online, Inc. operates
two worldwide Internet services: America Online, with more than 15
million members; and CompuServe, with approximately 2 million
members. America Online, Inc. also operates AOL Studios, a leading
builder of Internet brands for new market segments. Other branded
Internet services operated by America Online, Inc. include AOL.COM, the
world's most accessed Web site from home; Digital City, Inc., the No. 1
branded local content network and community guide on AOL and the
Internet; AOL NetFind, AOL's comprehensive guide to the Internet; AOL
Instant Messenger, an instant messaging tool available on both AOL and
the Internet; and ICQ, an instant communication and chat technology on
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of
the "safe harbor" provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act
of 1995. These statements address the timing of deployment, availability,
new technology and pricing and benefits of DSL service. The forward-looking
statements are based on management's current expectations or beliefs and are
subject to a number of uncertainties and other factors (and uncertainties)
that could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in
the forward-looking statements. See AOL's Annual Report on Form 10-K, 10-Q's
and other public filings for additional information.