America Online Inc. has quietly stopped offering a complete broadband package, requiring subscribers to instead obtain their high-speed Internet connections directly from a cable modem or DSL provider.
The reversal in strategy stands as another black mark against the purported wisdom of the $160 billion merger between America Online and Time Warner at the height of the Internet boom, a deal the companies had described as a perfect marriage of new and old media with the means to deliver it.
The decision to stop selling bundled service — an AOL-branded cable or DSL connection combined with AOL's walled garden of content — follows a strategic realignment that began in December 2002, AOL spokeswoman Anne Bentley said Friday.
The change, which took effect late last month, does not affect customers who bought the package before then.
Although AOL would not provide a detailed breakdown, relatively few of the company's 3 million broadband subscribers had the $54.95-a-month package. Most had AOL's "bring your own access" service for $14.95 a month and obtained access separately, Bentley said.
News source: MSNBC