AOL for Broadband

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AOL is advertising on radio their new AOL for Broadband service. On first listen it seemed to be a simple AOL service you sign-in to through your existing service provider. The 'broadband' aspect just seemed to be a requirement since they were feeding you large media files.

Some rapidly spoken words at the end of the radio commercial perked my ears, and I confirmed it through their website. Get this: "AOL FOR BROADBAND REQUIRES PURCHASE OF A SEPARATE HIGH-SPEED CONNECTION FROM YOUR LOCAL CABLE OR TELEPHONE COMPANY". Yep. They expect you to purchase a second broadband connection (on your own dime apparently) and then download AOL branded media exclusively through it (more dimes required).

Incredible, eh? Two broadband connections to one house. One for AOL, the other for everything else. Considering the cost of a single broadband connection can be upwards of $40, would people really be eager to drop an additional $40 to get AOL content? How good could it be?


What technical or business reason would they have that requires a dedicated broadband connection?

Well, no. Looking at that same page, there is some text:

Works with and enhances any basic high-speed cable or DSL connection.

I have a cable connection and keep an AOL account because the kids use it. I've downloaded and used the AOL for Broadband client software after they stopped charging the extra $1 a month for it. AFAICT, it is just another flavor of their client software that uses more bandwidth because it is there. It just works like regular AOL, but I guess with bandwidth-hungry features. There is no "second" cable/dsl connection. I think that their usage of the word SEPARATE is confusing, but I think that they are just saying that you need it in addition the dial-up phone line that you may be using and didn't want to imply that AOL for BB would just work without you purchasing the BB line.

There's also a big problem for families who want to use AOL parental controls when they have machines on a home net behind a cable/DSL modem and a firewall/router. Kids can obviously just start a browser and do want they want outside of AOL. So the AOL BB stuff also includes this thing called PortMagic from PureNetworks that is supposed to only allow internet access via the AOL connection so that the parental controls can work on the AOL side. I accidently enabled this on my home net and it must work by constantly checking the traffic on the network because my net performance fell to about half of what it was. I could see the activity with a software net sniffer. But, this is part of the package too for people that need it and from AOL's perspective, keeps AOL in the BB user market when people have the parental controls requirement.

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This page contains a single entry by Dylan published on August 25, 2004 11:29 PM.

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