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AOL Offers Broadband to Declining Base

Dow Jones reports that Time Warner Inc. AOL unit will begin offering high-speed Internet access service as it attempts to retain its rapidly deteriorating base of dial-up customers.

While it was recently considered an online advertising and traffic darling by Internet giants Google Inc., Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Corp., AOL continues to lose customers and revenue in its core dial-up Internet access business. The move to offer a high-speed product via cable and telecommunication partners illustrates its willingness to play some defense.

In early February, the Internet service provider will offer AOL High Speed - a package bundling broadband Internet from the likes of BellSouth Corp. or Verizon Communications with AOL features such as security and exclusive videos. In doing so, it hopes to retain control of its customers as more migrate to a faster connection. AOL had 20.1 million U.S. members at the end of the third quarter, down 678,000 from the second quarter.

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