America Online to Launch Field Trials for High-Speed Access to AOL Service

April 2, 1998

25 Times Faster Than Current Connections Initial Integration Service Provided by GTE Internetworking Dulles, VA, April 2, 1998 -- America Online, Inc. [NYSE: AOL] today announced it will begin conducting field trials for high-speed access to the AOL service using Digital Subscriber Line (xDSL) broadband services provided by GTE Internetworking. America Online will become the first national Internet online service provider to offer this opportunity to residential consumers. GTE Internetworking will provide the integration services for these initial tests, coordinating between AOL and the regional phone companies providing the DSL service in selected markets across the country, including Bell Atlantic and GTE Corp. xDSL is a technology that provides very high-speed bandwidth to personal computers over existing telephone lines; AOL members using xDSL technology can achieve transmission speeds as much as 25 times faster than a standard 28.8K modem. Because xDSL provides high-speed access, an AOL member choosing to use an xDSL connection will receive the benefit of faster downloads and a connection to the AOL service dedicated to the individual member and always available. During the trials, AOL will offer eligible members this special high-speed, dedicated access to its service for $49.95 per month, which includes the monthly AOL subscription fee. Steve Case, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of America Online, Inc. said, "Our strategy is to foster a competitive broadband marketplace so that our members will have the benefit of a range of reasonably priced, easy-to-use high-speed technologies. Therefore, we are committed to supporting a variety of broadband technologies, in partnership with a range of telephone, cable and wireless companies. The xDSL trials we're announcing today represent an important first step towards making the promise of broadband a reality for consumers." AOL's initial field trials will take place in Birmingham, AL; Phoenix, AZ; the Greater Bay Area, CA; the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC; and Redmond, WA. Because regional telephone providers use different xDSL equipment and multiple standards in different cities, AOL will be working with a number of providers to bring this technology to its members. Members interested in learning more about xDSL technology can go to Keyword: DSL for information about where the trials will operate, how to participate if they reside in field trial areas, and answers to other DSL questions. Bob Pittman, President and Chief Operating Officer of America Online, Inc., said, "We are conducting field trials with xDSL technology to broaden our members' access to new technologies that can enhance their online experience. These field trials will help us to ultimately provide the high-speed online experience that works best for our members, both in terms of being the most consumer-friendly and in keeping costs reasonable. We look forward to working with GTE Internetworking to begin bringing this service to our members." George H. Conrades, President of GTE Internetworking, said, "xDSL technology represents the next step in Internet online access to the home. It is high-speed and always on. We are very excited about working with AOL, the leader in residential access to the Internet, to begin providing the benefits of this technology to its members." AOL's initial xDSL trials will be conducted over the portion of AOLnet operated by GTE Internetworking under an existing contract between GTE and AOL. AOLnet is the world's largest dial-up IP network and was the first national network to be upgraded to support 56kb access for analog modems. It is anticipated that the number of trial locations and participants will grow over the next several months. In addition, AOL Interactive Services, the world's leading Internet online service, will work with its content partners to deliver special high bandwidth content that will be unique to these high-speed access users, and with its major computing partners to ensure that enhanced speed access is broadly available to the growing market of new Internet users who are buying PCs to sign up for access to AOL and the Internet.

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