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America Online Inc. plans to charge the same for dialup and basic broadband services starting next month, the company said Wednesday.
The move is to encourage dialup subscribers to switch to broadband, preferably with an Internet service provider that offers AOL services, which include email, address books, content, security and unlimited storage for photos and email.
Starting March 9, members of AOL's proprietary dialup service will pay $25.90 a month, or $2 more. The subscription rate is the same as AOL's high-speed service.
AOL, a Dulles, Va., unit of Time Warner Inc., recently announced the availability of a coast-to-coast high-speed network offered through partnerships with cable and DSL providers, including BellSouth, Time Warner Cable and Verizon.
Despite the price increase, AOL said it is willing to negotiate with subscribers who don't want to make the switch.
"If members are unable to get AOL High Speed, or don't want it, AOL will work with them on other pricing options," a spokeswoman said.
AOL has reported losing dialup subscribers to broadband providers for years. The company has tried to reverse the flow by offering its own competitively priced broadband service through partners. The company last year also launched a free Web portal in order to compete for online advertising.
Ad revenues on the Web in 2005 were expected to exceed $12 billion, well above last's year's record of $9.6 billion, according to the latest figures from the Interactive Advertising Bureau, an industry trade group for online advertisers.