For AOL, 8.0 is not yet enough

America Online is planning to launch an enhanced version of its AOL 8.0 service next week as part of an effort to revitalize its struggling Internet service and to burnish the appeal of its broadband technology.

The launch of AOL 8.0 Plus comes six months after the AOL Time Warner division unveiled the first incarnation of AOL 8.0. As part of the launch, a source close to the company said, the online heavyweight will spend $35 million in an advertising campaign. The campaign got under way during Sunday night's Academy Awards show with a commercial starring actress Sharon Stone.

The Plus package, at the standard price of $23.90, will include firewall, antivirus software and parental controls that will function on the PC itself rather than within the AOL client. The service also includes the company's advanced e-mail software, Communicator; the ability to share AOL Radio with other AOL subscribers via instant messenger; and, for broadband users, a redesign of its Welcome Screen.

AOL will charge subscribers a slightly higher price--$24.95--for a version of the service that lets a single account have seven screen names that can dial in simultaneously, targeting homes with multiple computers. Up to now, the company permitted only one screen name to have access at any one time.

In addition, AOL introduced new pricing for its "bring your own access" service, which lets people get to AOL from a different Internet connection. The company will offer BYOA for $9.95 a month for the remainder of this year, but the revert back to its standard $14.95 price in 2004.

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News source: CNET

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