AOL to offer Covad DSL

Just when you thought they were going to be Time Warner Cable only…

The Internet service provider on Thursday is expected to announce a partnership to offer broadband Internet service through Covad Communications Group. [CNET – Entertainment & Media]

The partnership is different than AOL’s previous attempts to sell customers a content-and-access bundle for $54.95 a month. That arrangement required AOL to lease DSL lines from local phone companies and manage all elements of the service, including customer service and billing.

AOL has since dissolved those leasing deals and has watched a similar partnership with cable giant Comcast fade away. Instead, the online leader hopes people using other broadband providers will want to pay an additional $14.95 a month to access its service.

Appealing to broadband users has been a major priority for AOL. The Time Warner division has watched its narrowband subscriber base steadily decline, culminating in a net loss of 2.2 million subscribers in 2003. However, AOL added 1.2 million broadband members, which includes its “bring your own access” customers, to total 3 million subscribers at the end of 2003.

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