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AOL to Raise Dialup Prices 272

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the going-the-way-of-the-dodo dept.
United Bimmer writes "America Online has announced that it's going to raise the price on dialup users in an attempt to encourage them to upgrade to broadband. The new rates will near $26 a month, already drastically higher than the market norm for dialup access. This will bring the dialup prices to almost the exact same per month as broadband depending on your plan. However through this, they do still offer an unadvertised lower price for those who can't get or don't want broadband can request lower-priced plans, including an unadvertised offering of about $18 with a one-year commitment."
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AOL to Raise Dialup Prices

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  • Ding! (Score:5, Funny)

    by darth_MALL (657218) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @06:19PM (#14780176)
    You've Got Inflation!
  • I wasn't aware that AOL by itself provides broadband access. My only options appear to be DSL from the phone company or cable internet from the cable company.
  • by andy753421 (850820) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @06:21PM (#14780187) Homepage
    Less AOL users and more boadband users.. how could it get any better?
  • Neat! (Score:5, Funny)

    by TheGhostOfDerrida (953992) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @06:21PM (#14780188)
    So now I can get dial-up for the same low price as broadband? Wait...
  • Encourage? (Score:2, Funny)

    by imboboage0 (876812)
    The concept of AOL alone was enough to get me to upgrade.
  • Holy Crap (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Matilda the Hun (861460) <flatsymcnoboobs <at> leekspin <dot> com> on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @06:22PM (#14780207) Homepage
    1. Give crappy dial-up service
    2. Give crappy broadband service
    3. Increase the price of your crappy dial-up service
    4. Profit!!!! Or go out of business.

    Another failed attempt to fill in step 3.
    • Except in the original South Park episode where they made this joke, there were only 3 steps with step 2 being the ?
  • This is ludicrous (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rehtonAesoohC (954490)
    Raising the dialup rates for people by such a huge margin is absolutely asinine, honestly. Then think about the $18/month they would charge for people who cannot get broadband internet is at least 50% a month more expensive than other dial-up providers.

    Who in their right mind would even consider paying for AOL dial-up?!
    • > Who in their right mind would even consider paying for AOL dial-up?!

      These guys? [amazon.com]

      • It is a good thing that Amazon doesn't use Slashdot's moderation system. That book would have to get modded redunudant.

        Smile people, it's a joke.
    • Who in their right mind would even consider paying for AOL dial-up?!

      Those who already have an aol email address and don't want to change it. Many people are lazy enough to pay the extra price just to keep their email address and not have to research alternatives.
    • I would bet that this is part of a larger plan, so people would be more willing to buy and download from the Net movies, music, games, etc. It is not just a push for high speed access, since TimeWarner has fingers into all kinds of media and entertainment .
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @06:25PM (#14780232)
    This will certainly chase away many of their current customers. I am unable to get DSL or Cable and Sattelite is way too expensive. If dialup prices are raised by AOL, I'm sure that many will switch to a less expensive ISP.
  • by Your Anus (308149) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @06:25PM (#14780237) Journal
    When I upgrade to broadband, and then cancel my service, will I continue to get billed for it anyway at the braodband rate or at the dial-up rate?
  • by dnamaners (770001) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @06:26PM (#14780241) Journal
    As if the AOL customer service was reason enough to avoid it, now they add a whole new insult. Cell phone like plan gouging and hidden pricing with contractual commitments. Of course, on the upside, this will make people switch to a new provider via economic pressure. You have to love natural selection in progress.
  • Cool! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rob_squared (821479) <rob&rob-squared,com> on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @06:26PM (#14780242)
    Wouldn't it be great if other companies did this?

    Golf courses could make the hole smaller to encourage more people to buy Tiger Woods video games.

    McDonalds could increase the amount of ice in drinks to make people buy bigger drinks.

    Motion Picture creators could degrade the quality of videos to make people move to a new format.

    Nike could make their shoes less comfortable and then sell replacement linings.

    Is this funny or insightful?
    It's probably both.
    • Re:Cool! (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      "Is this funny or insightful?"

      Moderation +3
          70% Insightful
          30% Funny

      Heaven forbid I be labeled 'informative' for this.
  • by panaceaa (205396) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @06:28PM (#14780272) Homepage Journal
    Time to add AOL to the list of great [wikipedia.org] moments [segway.com] in pricing [caldera.com] failures [neo-geo.com].
  • People still use dial-up!?
    • I imagine for most people, it's a cost issue. Why pay $45+/month for broadband when all you use the web for is news and email? I had a $10 dial-up connection for years that worked fine for everything except streaming video and downloading large files. I only got cable internet because I have roommates that are willing to split the cost now (grad student).
  • I saw it coming (Score:2, Interesting)

    by spazoidspam (708589)
    To be honest, I saw this coming. Not just at AOL, but it is very forseeable that dial-up prices will only go up, and broadband prices will go down, or it will get faster. Just think about it, doesnt dial-up require a dedicated connection? Just like making a phone call? Where adding additional users to a broadband system just eats up more bandwidth from the large and growing pool. AOL might be jumping the gun and doing it before dial-up costs actually rise, but as the telcos lose their traditional phone
    • as the telcos lose their traditional phone customers to VoIP, a normal phone line will just get more and more expensive.

      +5 insightful!

      I've heard you can still do better in some parts of the country, but in the NorthEastern US, basic land-line phone service (by which I mean the default "no frills but not crippled" service) will run you $35 to $60 per month, after fees and taxes and BS. Unlimited nationwide LD will run at least $70.

      For comparison, my broadband costs me $45 and my nationwide 800-minute
    • but as the telcos lose their traditional phone customers to VoIP, a normal phone line will just get more and more expensive.

      Last time I looked, it was telcos owning the wire to your, and millions of other homes.

      Even if telcos have to invent reasons for you to keep your phone wires (and they will) they most certainly will not go quietly into the night.

      As someone that moonlights tech support for home users I had an especially bad experience in one home with two computers on AOL dsl. They called me because one
  • Heh. Dial-up modems use broadband signalling. Compare with ethernet, for example. Sigh.

    -b
  • So you will need a one year plan and buy a DSL modem.
  • once all the technotards who use AOL see what they've been missing, AOL will go the way of SCO.

    Which is sad, really.

  • by djkuhl (902899) <djkuhl_blog@mac . c om> on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @06:34PM (#14780320) Homepage
    AOL seems to be too confident in their content value. If a user does not value the exclusive content, they've officially announced a way to encourage users to switch instead of moving to broadband. AOL just officially lost all customers who wanted an easy way to connect to the internet to read web sites and check their e-mail. AOL needs to realize that upgrades and spiked costs end up in permanent account loss.

    A good case for my point would be Dish Network. As they've started updating their systems for HD, they have given current users free updates for satellite dishes. Without this option, the users could easily re-evaluate their options and check out DirecTV. When Dish finally has a complete HD solution to all their customers, they could very well up the cost of their service and customers would have to accept the fact that they can't afford the initial cost of a new satellite service. Dish Network understands that you have to upgrade some options for free or you lose a permanent revenue source.

    • It's all about people being scared of change. They are terrified of having to learn anything and the idea of having *gasp* seperate email and web browser programs scares the shit out of them. "But then how will people know how to email me?". The majority of them even when they go cable/dsl keep their dam AOL even though I implore them not to. Most AOL users I know don't even use the services AOL offers. It just makes it easy to have one single icon to click to reach "the Internet". I had hoped those days wo
    • It could also be because what DirectTV has for HD is... well... dismal and their customer service / retention / cancelation department won't give you a dime if you want to upgrade to HD (and their offerings suck and are expensive, besides).
      This isn't to say dish is amazing, but it just goes to prove that some companies don't understand that.
  • Is it me or is this a strangle place for this advertisement, err I mean article. I'm thinking that the target audience for this post is all the slashdotter's who are forced to support family members and friends that use AOL dialup. I'm sure glad I'm clued into the $18/mo. plan :)

    Actually, I got dear old Dad off of dialup and onto the low-end broadband years ago, but it makes support much easier now that I can share his screen.
  • Out of curiousity, did any of those ISP's back in the mid 90's that offered lifetime internet access for one large initial fee survive the dotcom era?
  • $ Criminal (Score:3, Insightful)

    by u16084 (832406) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @06:37PM (#14780344)
    Thats just criminal. AOL is no longer the premiere Content Provider. They will Join Qlink in the near future. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QLink [wikipedia.org]
    Time Warner is now bundling AOL service with its High Speed service (to raise subscription rate for stock holders?) Everyone knows that you can get dial up as low as $9/month. Not to sound like a broken record, but BroadBand users tend to stear away from AOL - Cutting their own throat.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @06:37PM (#14780346)
    I have a confession to make; I once tried the AOL free trial. The free trial wasn't woth the cost!
  • by loraksus (171574)
    Anything that pushes their customers to other ISPs is a good thing in my book. Although most will no doubt be pushed to the major providers, some will actually go with local companies and I think one of the best ways to keep customer hostile policies like "tiered internet", etc is to keep as many people as possible getting access through small companies and independents instead of large isps who have sociopathic beancounters that are given drugs to find new ways of screwing us, pissing us off and making an
  • by msbsod (574856)
    Sounds like End of Line (EOL) [foldoc.org].
  • by hirschma (187820) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @06:55PM (#14780480)
    AOL is actually being pretty crafty about this.

    They know that there's a huge number of subscribers that are scared shitless about leaving the warm embrace of AOL, and they just won't leave. They figure that some folks will upgrade to AOL broadband, and AOL makes more money on this folks. Others will pay double, even triple for phone dial-up. Just to not lose that wonderful interface. They'll even suffer pain, case in point:

    I'm seeing this girl that's just scared to death of computers. AOL auto updated to the new version, and just totally screwed her computer in the process. This is not enough to get her to quit AOL. I fix her computer, requiring a complete OS reinstall, and set it to an older less toxic version... her stupid brother pops in an AOL 9.0 CD to upgrade it. It upgrades to 9.0, and then the cheap ass CD shatters from the high rotation rate of her 56x CD-ROM drive immediately post-install - totally destroys it. Then the software again does a number on her computer... and she still will not quit AOL.

    Hell, AOL is now learning what drug dealers have know for a while, and are going to make bucks on it.
  • by dasunst3r (947970)
    This is definitely not nice of AOL as this have rammifications such as:
    • Alienating users who simply can't afford broadband
    • Alienating users located in places where broadband just can't reach them

    But then again, considering that CompUSA employees have loads of trouble getting people to sign up for AOL, that goes far to say just how inferior AOL is and how people using it deserve to pay for their stupidity. Looks like AOL is asking for an even smaller subscription base (or maybe even a death wish)...

  • There are times when it makes sense to stay cheap & simple. For instance, many people who live in the countryside find dialup to be the only affordable option - they can't get cable or DSL broadband, and satellite is an expensive proposition for casual users. And lets not forget that people like my mom don't need rip-snorting broadband to check e-mail once a week. And in other news, bus drivers have announced a raise in fares to encourage people to buy cars. ;)
  • That's right folks (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cubicledrone (681598) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @07:31PM (#14780758)
    A company is going to deliberately overcharge their customers in an attempt to get them to stop using the product.

    Read that again.

    Perhaps people will begin to understand why:

    1. Retail stores deliberately mistreat their customers by having one cashier and 57 "loss prevention" employees.
    2. Disney fires 4000 people between nine-figure movie releases, then fires their entire animation division
    3. General Motors fires 30,000 people because "nobody is buying cars" We hear the news on the radio in a traffic jam that can be seen from orbit.
    4. Half of working-age adults are not employed in full-time permanent jobs.
    5. Half of the population is functionally illiterate.

    Go back and read about the company that is deliberately overpricing their product to make customers leave.

    Go ahead.
  • Oh, of course! Layoffs!

    More foreclosures and bankruptcies. More pain. More suffering. More destroyed neighborhoods. More unemployment and reposessions. More wasted education. GET MORE SKILLS! It's the EMPLOYEE'S FAULT!

    And a big bump for the stock price. Cracked lobster with a side of tall dollars. Step up to the buffet and pass the croutons.
  • by ursabear (818651) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @07:54PM (#14780891) Homepage Journal
    My mother and father-in-law both use AOL. Neither of them can stand open Internet connectivity because it is different, transparent, and doesn't have the lovely ultra-over-crowded Welcome screen. This is not derision, it is a factual observation.

    When my father-in-law moved, he purchased DSL through the local phone company. He loves the speed. We tried to wean him off AOL, but have been unsuccessful. Quoth he, "Web mail is terrible, and Thunderbird is horrible!" [read:it doesn't have my familiar-of-7-years filing cabinet, and I have to actually start an application after he's "started" the internet.] "I don't 'see' the Internet!" [read: He feels warm and comfortable with the AOL main window as the portal, and using all these 'loose' applications gives him no warm fuzzies.]

    It isn't that he's not smart (he's got multiple Dr. degrees), it isn't that he doesn't understand... it is how he feels that matters. This is the nut of the AOL user base.

    None of my tech-enabled friends uses (or would consider) AOL - I think AOL has become a cultural ubiquity.
  • by loose_cannon_gamer (857933) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @08:06PM (#14780979)
    First, disclaimer. I have used AOL in the long distant past, and if it is still the same as it used to be, well, $-40 might be the right monthly rate (that is, they pay you enough to replace the computer they screw up).

    Second... my parents (mid 50's aged) used to be stuck with a high cost ISP through a deal they got at work. When their contract expired, they switched to your average nation $10 / month dialup ISP (Qwest has decided their neighborhood doesn't warrant DSL, although they live in a suburb and cable is readily available, but overpriced for their budget).

    This new ISP, unlike the old expensive one, is awful. Heaven help you if you want to send UDP traffic because it gets dropped, constantly (and on dialup, that is in fact the end of the world). Disconnections every 20 minutes, minimum. Plus, a real PITA interface with 'pop-up' blockers and 'virus scanners' that take down the web connection with frightening frequency while in fact neither blocking popups nor catching viruses and spyware. I know because, as most of you, I get the call to fix it when it is broken, and I *used* to be able to play games like Starcraft (pure UDP) with my little brother, back in the day...

    This isn't just a complaint post, though. There's a market hiding in there. Specifically, I would consider recommending an ISP who charged more money in exchange for services that were actually valuable. Like ISP to backbone latency guarantees, or never a dropped packet on their network (which requires quite a bit of expensive redundant hardware and a willingness to not sell all available bandwidth), or any of a host of other non-intrusive services. You want to scan for viruses? Scan the packets before they get to me. A popup blocker? I use a *real* webrowser, I don't need it. Your ridiculous dialer app that wraps internet explorer? Just give me a phone number and an 8 line instruction page for setting up a modem shortcut.

    For the right price, it *must* be possible to actually provide a true, clean, non-intrusive high quality connection at the advertised speed. Is that AOL? Probably not. But it if existed, it would be worth considering, even at $26 for dialup. The older I get, the more I am interested in exchanging my money for quality goods and services. I care about price, but I care more about what I'm getting than how much I'm getting it for. I am willing to pay more to avoid having MSN, AOL, Earthlink or any other such ISP manage my broadband connection, from experience with each of those.

    Is there such a thing as a 'luxury' ISP? Maybe there should be.

    • Luxury ISP in my book is one that gives me a dial-in number with plain old ppp and leaves me alone after that.

      I gave SBC/Yahoo dial a whirl, and for $9.95/month (the price they gave me when they realized they couldn't sell me DSL) I was pretty pleased. It took a Windows laptop to run the install software and get the dial-in number, but once I had that, I was able to make it work perfectly from Linux using wvdial. It would stay connected for something like 6 hours at a time, and was on pretty much constant
  • by alienw (585907)
    Actually, AOL will offer their service for next to nothing. Just call in and ask to cancel. They will offer like $5 a month if you choose to stay on -- without any commitment or anything. Of course, why anyone would want to use AOL is beyond me.
  • Dialup v. DSL (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @08:30PM (#14781104)
    A couple of years ago, I spouted off here about why I was happy with dialup at home even though DSL was available. The reasons I gave were
    • T3 access at work for those .iso downloads
    • Don't do much online gaming
    • Better control of the kid's access
    • Cost

    Things have changed. Although I was happy with my local ISP, SBC DSL is now cheaper (I live in a rural area where a lot of those $10 deals aren't available). Only child still at home is now in college, and she needs better access. We both do some online gaming. I switched to DSL without any regret except the loss of a locally maintained Usenet spool.

    Now that I have a nice wireless network set up at home, I have found an added fringe benefit; backup network access through my neighbors who don't share my ideas about security.

  • by FunkSoulBrother (140893) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @09:55PM (#14781520)
    Can someone clue me in on where I can get that? I live in a big metro area (Denver) and I'm paying comcast $45 a month for cable internet, and thats with a deduction for owning my own cable modem and another for bundling with their Cable TV service.

    I'm not saying AOL is a good value or anything for dialup, but in my experience thats a pretty lowball estimate for "exact same per month as broadband".
  • What can possibly be on AOL that isn't also already on the net - I mean is there some magic packaging they wrap around the rest of the content on the planet that makes it worth putting up with a non-standard browser and now this?

    So you have their $26 monthly and then they ask you to slap on either a monthly $17 or $22 DSL account to get connected.

    So I'm still at $48 per month to get to 3 meg and tied to their app.
  • by kiddailey (165202) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @11:12PM (#14781876) Homepage
    I have an AOL account (as I've mentioned on Slashdot before) that I use almost solely for testing purposes of various content internet content that I create for clients.

    I probably use the account once every three or four months at the most, and I even then I access the AOL network through my own separate broadband ISP account. The only time in the past dozen years I've used it for non-testing for any period of time is when the three hurricanes came through central Florida and I was without my broadband connection for a few days.

    AOL isn't sparing anyone from the price increase. I *was* paying their obscure $4/mo+hourly plan which I considered fair. But, I received the following e-mail from them the other day:

    Dear Member,

    On your next billing date, we will be increasing the monthly fee for your AOL® Limited Plan to $6.95 for 3 hours of online usage. Additional hours will be billed at $2.50 per hour. This price change, our first in over four years, helps us continue to provide you with reliable Internet service including security features, exclusive content, member service and support. Over the past two years, we've spent more than $2 billion to provide the convenience, safety features and reliability you've come to expect from AOL. You continue to get great benefits under your AOL Limited Plan, including:

    The most comprehensive set of automatic online safety tools - all located in one place - to help protect you from identity theft, spyware, and viruses.
    24/7 live customer support by phone, email or Instant Messaging that allows us to be there whenever you need us.
    Access anywhere, anytime to your AOL® Mail, AOL content and your AOL address book from any Internet-connected computer. Even when you're away from home you can get there through www.aol.com, over a dial-up or high-speed connection.
    Help protecting your important files with unlimited storage for digital photos and unlimited email storage.
    Go to AOL Keyword: My Account, or http://bill.aol.com/ [aol.com] on the web to find out your exact billing date and more information about your plan.

    We look forward to continuing to provide you with the best online experience possible--today and in the future. Thanks again for being an AOL member.

    Sincerely,
    The AOL Member Service Team

    As you can read in the letter, they're basically justifying raising my monthly fee for items of their service that I never or rarely use or benefit from: reliable Internet service, security features, exclusive content, member service and support.

    And now they'll be getting $83/year (nearly all of which is pure profit) from me -- a developer trying to support users of their crappy service. I realize it's not a lot, but that doesn't make it feel like less of a ripoff.

    Way to go AOL. You're making it really easy to just give up on you completely.
  • As someone who has an AOL email address because they have family who still religiously use it.....I have to say that their communications to their customers are very confusing. They make it sound like you're getting a free upgrade to broadband, and just paying a buck or two more.

    I'm really confused what the real story is.

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