Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
The Internet

@HOME - AOL Deal Brewing? 210

xTg writes " is reporting that Excite@HOME is restructuring its divisions to facilitate a merger with AOL. The most important question in my mind: Does this mean I have to pay more for my cable modem now in exchange for AOL "premium" content? Does AOL like linux? blah." I don't care whether it's AOL or @home, as long as I can keep using Linux with my cable modem and they don't jack the price too hard. Whatever. We customers are nothing but pawns in all of this until the cable monopolies either get some solid competition or are forced to open their lines to outside ISPs. I second xTg's "blah."Update: 10/01 10:48 by H : Apparently, the deal is being denied by AT&T.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

@HOME - AOL Deal Brewing?

Comments Filter:
  • Unfortunately, not all of us are in such a nice situation. ADSL in my area ends up being ~$65/mo for 256k access (756k is ~$250/mo), and that's only if you are within a certain distance of the teleco (someone please fill in the details). I know that many people just outside of the city are too far away to get it, or some of the hardware needs to be upgraded between their house and the teleco (not gonna happen -$$).

    Cable is far more ubiquitous (and ~$40/mo here), and while @Home clogs or screeches to a halt (the mail server is dead slow regardless of anything else). I would prefer dedicated bandwidth (the technical aspects of DSL are just cooler than cable modem), but in many areas, it just isn't cost effective. Hence the rush for the ever slowing cable modems... though I can usually get a few concurrent 25 - 50k/s downloads.

    A mail server that doesn't suck would be great, but at least I have a resonably cheap/fast connection...
  • Cable *is* getting opened up, slowly but surely. I work at an ISP in Victoria, BC that has cable for businesses. Otherwise, we're limited to phone lines, but Shaw, our local cable company, does *not* have the monopoly.

    Unfortunetly, it's aimed at businesses right now, and is therefore three times the price of a normal cable connection.

    Such is life.
  • Many of whom believe AOL *is* the Internet, that's a lot of eyeballs with a Lot of cash.
  • If there isn't a realistic parallel between NYC at the turn of the century and whether you are allowed competition (my spelling, not your's) in the cable industry, then how do you expect the signal is going to get to your house from the cable head-in? It has to come over cables. Not all cable companies are willing to share their cables with other companies, even if they get a lease fee or use fee for doing so, because it would cost them customers. So, the alternative is for any new company to string their own cables. So now you have competition and two sets of cables, and perhaps the entire cable industry becomes totally unregulated and closed franchises are no longer necessary . . . in large population centers, many cable companies would compete for customers, each with their own set of lines crisscrossing the cities in a spiderwork of cables (Sorry, Spidey sometimes cable companies can cut into a super hero domanin) . . . therefore you would have another blotch upon the aesthetics of how a natural skyline should appear. I'll take your "I'm sorry" as an admission that you just did not know how a cable signal gets into your home. ---nedy "Pecunia regimen est rerun omnium (Money rules all). ---Publilius Syrus
  • What do you think is going to happen when the cable lines are opened up? Who is going to dare fork over the hundreds of millions of dollars required to extend the broadband infrastructure into new markets?

    Without the garauntee of being able to reap the benefits nobody is going to want to make the investment and you are going to be stuck with POTS service for the next 10 years. Look at the way infrastructures got built: the railrood barons, the phone company... the only way any company is going to fork over the dollars necissary to set up your broadband connection is if they get a garauntee that they'll be the ones reaping the rewards.

    And don't worry about them being controlled forever -- @home has a contract with all of its cable company MSO's that expires in 2002-2003, at which point the lines WILL be opened up (unless they decide to renegotiate the contract with @home, which could conceivably happen).

    I am all for breaking the market up once it has been established, but I'd prefer one choice in broadband within the next year or two as opposed to five choices in five years.
  • How rude. Yes I mis-spelled competition, do you want to make something out of it? I'm quite aware of how cable signals get into my house. You see I do, in fact, have two jacks, one that I would use for mediaone, if I used it, and one for comcast. The cables are actually incredibly thin and even if there were 300 cable companies with seperate wires, they would fit in a bulky, although not a hulking wire. This would not block out the sky like smog. And I wouldn't have jacks for all of them, I would just switch the connectors in the wall to the access 300 or so connectors in the box on the telephone pole, this is acceptable to me, although perhaps not to you.

    Now if you'll excuse me i'm going to go respond to non-flames. (By the way, there are grammatical and spelling errors in your post, you can go to hell, troll.)

    -[ World domination - ]-
  • Wake up. If property rights are the only thing at work here, then what gives the cable company the right to dig up my back yard even though I don't want cable? Come back when you have a clue.

  • I beg to differ, but there's not much for the FCC to regulate here. If you don't like the deal you get with your cable modem provider, you always have the option of DSL or ISDN for high-speed internet access, provided the telcos have wired your area for those services. There's no way a smart telco is going to let @Home, RoadRunner, et al. wire an area without some competition. Look at the Bay Area where DSL prices dropped precipitously to equalize with cable modem prices once @Home moved in. Bad for consumers? I'm not convinced.

    AOL has lost the Forced Access fight and they know it. The Portland and Broward County cases will be overturned because the FCC won't stand for balkanized regulation; they've said as much. So AOL is SOL unless they partner with a high-speed provider, be it a telco or cable provider. AOL has a substantial investment tied up in it's dialup infrastructure; the best way to preserve that investment is to spoil the deployment of cable modems via its bogus 'Open Access' campaign until it can cut a deal with a high-speed provider. Once that happens, watch how quickly the Open Access initiative evaporates.

    Make no mistake, AOL has talked to AT&T/@Home before with no agreement and there's no reason to believe these talks will be any different. The ink is barely dry on the Excite merger; AOL would have to make a pretty compelling case to AT&T to undo it ('compelling case' == 'container ships filled with cash').

    It looks like AT&T is holding all the cards - really, what does AOL have to offer?

  • There is a school of thought that holds that negative comments should never be expressed and should always be considered "flames". While it certainly could have been done without the swearing, I think that in this case deserved a light searing on a bed of mesquite coals.

    Stuff like that is pure FUD...worse it is completely uninformed FUD.

    Let's do try to keep this in the realm of Informed Discussion(tm).
  • That's the problem. Without competition the service is likely to go down the crapper. They'll set up bandwidth caps and try to squeeze more people in all the time without worrying about maintaining service levels. After all, what choice do you have if you want broadband?

  • If anybody is interested in reading more about the Canadian Government's decision to force cable companies to "open up", check out the following URLs:

    CRTC orders cable firms to give ISPs access to high-speed service [].

    CRTC and FCC compare notes on Internet []

    For a more Beaureaucratic look at things, try :

    "Competition and Culture on Canada's Information Highway: Managing the Realities of Transition - 19 May 1995" []

    Telecom Decision CRTC 98-9 []

    The jist of things is this - The CRTC gave cable carriers 90 days to sell their higher speed Internet services to Internet service providers (ISPs) at a rate 25 per cent lower than their lowest retail prices - forcing competition and across-the-board fair play (hopefully).

    .------------ - - -
    | big bad mr. frosty
    `------------ - - -
  • :^) Yeah, it's a joke. No, I don't have a link offhand. There's something about mediaone being owned by a parent organization "the mediaone group", and they in turn are a consortium of these companies.. or something equally dark and misty. I may be wrong - I might have read it all wrong.. it just isn't important enough for me to research out...

  • Um, thanks. I didn't expect a non-insulting response. (good think I didn't ask what LOL meant!)

    "The number of suckers born each minute doubles every 18 months."
  • and the FCC who was supposed to encourage competition is naively allowing these mergers

    Don't fool yourself. The Communications Act of 1996 was written with millions of dollars of corporate payola. "Competition" actually means massive consolidation.
  • Yes, RoadRunner is Time Warner, I knew that. However, I can't find any evidence that @Home is owned by Time Warner, can you provide a link? I found the Broadband Report at [] but can find any reference to Time Warner and @Home having anything to do with each other. @Home is an independent publically traded company that acts as an ISP for many different cable companies. RoadRunner is owned by Time Warner and is a direct competitor with @Home.

    I'm assuming "NotHome" is a joke on "@Home". I did look for a company named "NotHome" just in case I was finding a joke where there wasn't meant to be one. But there isn't any.

  • Can you imagine how many cables would be strung from one pole to another if there were multiple cable companies serving any given area. It would be like New York City at the turn of the century, when so many competing electical companies and then teldephone companies almost blackened the skyline with cables. Mergers are a way of life, as are buyouts. In todays market, it's not how good your product is or how well you market it, but how much you can make by taking over other companies and then piecing them out to a dozen other companies, or shutting them down as write offs. It's business, that's all it is. Look at the current buy out of Tektronix by Xerox. Xerox was losing it because they would never share technology so other companies simply developed better and cheaper technology and Xerox got left by the wayside. Tektronix has been in trouble the last couple of years, laying off thousands of workers. They were ripe for a buyout. Xerox did it --- for almost a Billion Dollars. Both companies made out on this deal. Xerox now has GOOD colour laser printer technology without having to develop it, and Tektonix has an influx of almost a billion dollars cash to buyout smaller companies. ---nedy.
  • >Why AOL would want Excite, which is barely a second-rate portal these days, is beyond me. They already have a
    >second-rate portal: Netcenter.

    COMING SOON!!!! - The AOLNetHomeExciteCenter!!!
    Links to anywhere and eveywhere we want you to go!
    Don't be fooled by those other 'portals'
    The first fully integrated telepathic AIM!!!

    Bill G. just purchased the AOLNetHomeExciteCenter, which will now be renamed MSNetHomeAOLExcenteritement. View only with Ayyyyeeee(5) on Windoze 2000^H^H^H^H2001!!!!

    Where you want to go today...
  • I have been an @Home Cable modem user since they started beta testing in Fremont, CA, (ah, the 10Mbit glory days!) and the one disturbing trend with this service has been this gravitation towards something called "content". (groan) That's what the Internet is for, you dolts!

    I don't know why companies like @Home don't just focus on providing reliable, fast internet access/service and stop spending so much time trying to create "user portals" full of fluffy "content". Cable modem/DSL users are generally technically-competent, sophisticated users who usually ignore most of that glitzy crapola anyway. We don't want another AOL, we want the access we were promised.

    -- DigitalAce

  • by Anonymous Coward
    They can legislate all they want, but at this point in time it's not possible. The reason cable modems are so fast is because everyone is sharing a very large amount of bandwidth...and people use it in bursts. "Opening" cable would require partitioning off segments to each ISP. If this is the case, there would not be enough segments for everyone. Who is the one to determine that AOL gets a segment but Earthlink doesn't? "Open Access" = Forced Access! In heart, open access is the right idea - in practice, far from it.
  • That depends on where you're located, and if competition has reached your area. Where I'm located (Southeast Louisiana) there are only a very few ISPs providing DSL services, but their cost is on average higher than the service from BellSouth. Yes, you can have a dedicated connection and a static IP, but at that point the companies no longer view you as a consumer but as a business, and charge business rates ($275-$350/mo average) in this region. Competition also requires a large user base looking for options, which again my region does not have. [The fact that we also have a Public Service Commission that sets prices based on what the companies tell them it should be doesn't help the pocketbooks, either.]

    I would welcome a decent ISP and DSL or cable modem service, but I don't forsee that happening for at least three years here.
  • Boy did you get up on the wrong side of the universe this morning. I was being sarcastic and you were being insulting. There's a big difference. If you can't handle a little constructive criiticism *( I was suggesting nicely that you should learn more about what you were writing about than just throwing out random thoughts as reality), you should go rethink your place in society. And you are still wrong if you think 300 individual cables are going to go inside one hulking cable. Things are not done that way. Companies hang their own cables. I know I don't write perfectly and I never admitted to it, and I don't believe in hell so I guess you'll just have to settle on being alone there. But I'm not going to insult you. I'm going to just say that I think you should really learn more about what your writing about. I changed my mind. I'm going to insult you anyway. You're stupid. ---nedy. "Never greet a stranger in the night, for he may be a demon." --- The Talmud
  • Okay, I printed this thread and showed it to my dad and he said I was in the wrong on this one, that you're not stupid, just that you have some kind of comprehension deficit, so I apologize. I'm sorry I called you stupid. I'll watch for the handle Troll and be more understanding in the future. ---nedy. "We become just by performing just actions, temperate by performing temperate actions, brave by performing brave actions." --- Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics
  • RoadRunner (which I am currently on) is co-owned by MediaOne and Time-Warner (I'm not sure what the percentages are). I have to say that I have had good luck with the Southern Maine RR connection... speeds have been fine, and the people in the office have been very responsive (they even added a roadrunner.alt-os newsgroup when I asked for it, and it's probably the most popular of the rr groups on their server).
  • That'sonly because the FCC, CRTC, and any other state ageny for controlling communications are not concerned about anyone's rights and are inherently immoral. If there were no FCC, etc. they wouldn't be able to give the power to the cable companies to violate your property rights, not to mention the added "liberty" of deciding what methods you use for communications, and with whom you communicate.
  • In Canada, the communications regulatory body is requiring cable companies to allow third-party ISPs access to its bandwidth. At least here, soon one will be able to enjoy cable bandwidth but not be tied to the cable company as their only choice of ISP.

    So let the merger happen, for all I care. So long as cablemodem Internet users can opt out of AOL/@Home, they can do whatever they want...

  • SAY it ain't so!! @home support is bad enough AOL is worse.

    OTOH my work will pay for AOL access, it won't for @home access.
  • Shhhh . . . Quyet . . . I'm hunting wabbits . . ." And Bills gates only owns 14% of Microsoft now, and Paul Allen only owns 5%, but if they are two of the wealthiest people in the world, just imagine the extent of Microsoft's holdings. So maybe Elmer Fudd should have started hunting those wabbits dozens of years ago when the men in dark suits from Microsoft were prowling the "creative" garages of the U.S. for computer nerds they could easily buyout. So now, with all the "back engineering" they are the world's market leader and everyone picks on them . . So why not! If they were more above board about stuff, and not so stingy, and didn't intentionally write into their software programming which would disrupt competitors' software, Microsoft might be more respected than it is . . . but then, that wouldn't be any fun if they were an honest company. What we have here is a failure to communicate . . . on an ethical level. ---nedy. Voltaire (Alauteur du livre des trois imposteurs): "If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him." Nedyelyko Robinson: "If Bill Gates did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him."
  • by Signal 11 ( 7608 ) on Thursday September 30, 1999 @01:01PM (#1646642)
    I don't get it. Merger mania has hit the broadband scene hard... and our so-called regulators (public utilities commissioner, FCC) have turned a blind eye to the matter.

    This is not good for consumers! Competition is close to non-existant as is.. and the FCC who was supposed to encourage competition is naively allowing these mergers - which put us back in the same #$@! position we are right now with cable companies - one company per region! AAAggggghhh! It's enough to make me scream.

    And ever since MediaNone merged with NotHome, my service has been creeping steadily downhill - it's impossible to play quake2 after 16:00 because the latency and packet loss is so bad it makes me want to cry. ;(

    Come on! Write to the FCC, write to your local PUC... please please please don't let this happen!


  • The choice I have, which very few people have, is to get ISDN service (at no charge, just have to pay the line fee) from an ISP I do work for, or DSL service (I'm only 2 miles from the S.W.Bell a.k.a Ma Bell CO)to have a fat pipe. With new advancements from different technologies there will be competition from other companies besides cable and DSL, hell even your local power company wil be serving up broadband within a 1-2 years. Plus you are looking at cables saying "Why spend the money to develop new and faster networks that will be used by other companies to take our revenue away". The "Last Mile" is too young a market to have the feds crap all over it. Be patient. THer will be more choices Directly. So for right now all I have to say is "Hands off MY BANDWITH"!!!!!!.
  • I don't think it really matters that AOL will soon be linked to the cable modem people. After all, AOL and Netscape are hooked up, and I believe AOL still distributes Internet Exlporer on their mass-mailed CD's. Sure, cable modem people will probably be offered the option of recieving AOL content, but I would be shocked if it were shoved down subscribers' throats. I think AOL knows that a significant portion of the cable-modem market is not newbies, and that they would be extremely put out, were they forced to recieve AOL content. Remember, xDSL is still an option in most cable-modem areas, and AOL's not going to want to scare away subscribers.

    Wow, a first post with some content!

    Just my $0.02

  • Hehe.. now i know what it means to get first post! Btw: we have the same problem in Sweden, but the government actually decided to crack up their monopoly. One small step for the government, one big step toward democracy (wake me up when we really get one) / Mark
  • Once again I'm baffled at how Linux _must_ be tied into every technological tidbit that appears on Slashdot. Someone really needs to conduct a psychological study on this.

    I've used the service since it began (what..almost 3 years ago or something of that sort?) Here in Fremont CA. It started out great, then the bottlenecks started to appear...week long outages...clueless tech support..blah blah. It's a love/hate relationship, you hate the outages, love the speed. I'd love to switch to something that's more reliable but isn't more expensive. DSL doesn't fall into this category yet. Oh well... as to the AOL @home bit..well the internal @home page offers quite a lot of info, it makes quite an excellent portal already, I really don't know what @aol could add to it.
  • I use RoadRunner and for the time being it is uberfast!!! However if RoadRunner ever starts slacking I have the choice between DSL and ISDN (I can get ISDN really cheap, but still not worth it). I have a general bad taste in my mouth from fed agencies, but the FCC knows exactly what it is doing here. With tech advances even your power company is going to be offering broadband in the next few years. The Last Mile is such an infant market that any interfernce would greatly damage the fragile balance it has now.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    So, when my cable bill arrives, will the computer say "You have mail?"

    Injured software engineer wins against Mattel!" []

  • Without certain regulatory agencies, we probably wouldn't have the communications infrastructure we have today. Business couldn't have done it alone. It was way too expensive and too risky. Not to mention they couldn't have gotten around the legal hurdles without having the government's assistance. Even assuming some company did manage to figure out a way around those problems, we'd probably be a lot worse off. It would have ended up being one huge monopoly and we'd probably have even worse programming than we have now (can you even imagine that?)

  • Oh lookie i'm elite cause i got first post goody goody now i can brag to all my friends and use back oraface to () \/\/ /\/ them!!
  • by bolan ( 45665 ) on Thursday September 30, 1999 @01:08PM (#1646653)
    Price and performance are not the only negative aspects of ISP monopolies. American Online is famous for its "Family Oriented Content" id est Censorship. The one thing keeping the internet free of regulation currently is the myriad of means by which to gain access. Once that access is restricted to a small handful of enormous companies, the government (not to mention the companies themselves) can easily dictate what we can and cannot use the net for.

    Additionally, once everyone is forced to go through the big ISPs for service, it will be very difficult for small service providers to break into the market. The price of wiring an area / number of people willing to go with smaller ISPs in that area ratio will be too small to justify any company from offering censorship free service.

    It is imperative that we resist ISP monopolies!
  • As you say, few people have the choices you have. ISDN is expensive. DSL is not available anywhere near me. That leaves cable. Which means I have to take it or leave it. I have no other broadband choice. According to the phone company, I won't have the DSL option for at least another year, and probably longer than that. I do think that cable companies should have to open up their networks. Just as phone companies do. Not for free, but not for outrageous prices that eliminate the chances of creating effective competition either. They wouldn't have those networks in the first place if it wasn't for the government's assistance. Cable companies need to have competition. They've gotten way too fat and complacent. Only recently have they even started doing anything for the customer, and that's only because they saw that they could get knocked off their perch. Open up the networks and let's see what happens when there's real competition.

  • AOL and cable modems. thats not a good combination =-p
  • With the bandwidth sharing and if there were to be a price hike, what's the difference? ADSL should provide more consistent bandwidth than @home's service that fluctuates all of the time. No upload cap either. Also ADSL is gaining more availability. Why buy @Home's crap now? What could AOL have to offer? More BS?

  • I was of the notion that @home recently lost a court case allowing them to tie there @home service with the cable modem. The service was the main bread and butter of the product, as I understand. I think they posted a loss accordingly on the stock market when the decision in the court was announced.

    I was wondering what they would do to, what the new stratagy would be. I guess its "If you can't beat them, join them."
    ^~~^~^^~~^~^~^~^^~^^~^~^~~^^^~^^~~^~~~^~~^ ~
  • If you pay for a connection YOU have the right to be able to be a derivative ISP no questions asked.

    If a port must be closed for security reasons it's not their business to tell you what to do. Keeping that port closed is your responsibility.

    THEY SHOULD HAVE AN OPTION TO ALLOW YOU TO DO WHAT YOU WANT. Enough of the prohibitive handholding already.

  • >Bill G. just purchased the AOLNetHomeExciteCenter, which will now be renamed MSNetHomeAOLExcenteritement

    I think you meant AOL@NetHomeExciteCenterExplorer.

    If you need help understanding that, be sure to try the AOL@NetHomeExciteCenterExplorerAssistant.

    Just gimme a freakin static IP and some bandwidth and get the hell out of my way.
    "I know kung-fu."
  • >I think you meant AOL@NetHomeExciteCenterExplorer.
    >If you need help understanding that, be sure to try the AOL@NetHomeExciteCenterExplorerAssistant.

    shit. I meant AOL@NetHomeExciteCenterExplorerAssistantWizard.
    _ __
    "I know kung-fu."
  • It looks like ATT wants to control the Internet access side and they'd let AOL control the content. I would feel great about this if the ATT @Home subscribers were allowed to choose a different content provider or even none at all. I really think that AOL would be getting the short end of the stick on this one. I never use that awful @home application and I'd rather just save the money.
  • How long have you been on the net? How long did you wait for broadband service? Is another year or so going to be that big of diference in the grand scheme of things? I have been online since the BBS days and 2400 baud was like a pitbull on crack as far as speed goes. If I had to wait another year to get reliable broadband it really wouldn't make that much of a differnce. But as it is now I have reliable braodband and I don't not want anyone jacking around with my bandwidth.FACT: The opening of the cable networks will add more users on the network and the bandwidth of current users will drop to near modem speeds. Anything that promotes the loss of MY bandwidth is EVIL!!!! FACT: Opening the networks will not create the competition you want. Cable companies will still own the pipes the only competition will be about who you get your IP address from. You are still going to have to pay the cable companies for the data service then you will have to pay the isp ontop of what you pay the cable compaines. It is basically 6 one way half a dozen the other. ISP services prices will more than likely go up to take into consideration the price they have to pay to run connections across the cable infillstructre. DSL connections (which is basically the same thing, you pay for the line then pay the ISP) and are generally twice that of a dialup. So either way you are going to pay high prices and the cable companies still has control over the media. The effect you want will not hapen untill other broadband players come into the market (DSL/Satilite/BBOEL) This might be a ways of in some places but it is the only thing that is going to promote true competition. You mentioned the opening of the telco networks that happened awhile back in your last reply. Well, the telcos where ripe for the picking. How old was the telephone market when the feds finally broke them up and opened up their networks? I am not sure on exact dates here but I know we are talking at the least a good 40 years or so. Consumer flavored broadband is at it's oldest 8 maybe 9 years old(very extremely liberal questimation there).It is likle punishing an infant child for not being able to play Mozart's 6th synphony on the piano. Give it time and it will work itself out. Patients IS a virtue.
  • Whoops, nothing like being off by a decimal point. Thanks for the correction. The point still stands though: There's plenty of local bandwidth even though it's shared.

    jim frost
  • PPPoE allows the ISP to require a password to grant access, unlike a plain DHCP-negotiated network connection.

    I don't expect metered bandwith to be much of an issue in the US in the near future (even for phone links they try to get as close to flat rate as they can and still stay in business as consumers here prefer it) and the scuttlebutt I've heard does not indicate that metered usage is the reason that north american ISPs are considering PPPoE.

    That's not reliable by any means, just vague rumor. Make of it what you will. :-)

  • Sounds like I've been online as long as you. It doesn't change the fact that things don't appear to be going well. The bandwidth you're enjoying now won't last if some real competition doesn't show up in a hurry.

    The opening of the cable networks will add more users on the network and the bandwidth of current users will drop to near modem speeds.

    Why? Why is this more likely to happen with the networks open than closed? The cable companies are still signing people up as fast as they can. People either want it or they don't. It shouldn't matter how many companies are offering it. If there are more companies, they'll have more incentive to distinguish themselves via better prices and usage policies. They'll be taking customers from the major cable companies, not just pulling more people in off the street. If there is only one company, they have no incentive to provide better service. They're just trying to sign up as many people as possible, service be damned.

    Cable companies will still own the pipes the only competition will be about who you get your IP address from.

    You are still going to have to pay the cable companies for the data service then you will have to pay the isp ontop of what you pay the cable compaines.

    Competitors wouldn't have to pay what you or I pay for access to these networks. Not any more than competing phone companies do for access to the phone networks. I fail to see why we should let cable go the route of the phone companies. Do we really have to let them get that bad before we decide to do something?

    DSL connections (which is basically the same thing, you pay for the line then pay the ISP) and are generally twice that of a dialup.

    DSL costs twice that of a regular dialup, but delivers a lot more speed. Sounds like a fair trade. I'd gladly pay $40 instead of my current $20 per month for 10 times the speed.

    Give it time and it will work itself out. Patients IS a virtue.

    Given time, they'll just gain more power and become more difficult to fix. Just like the phone companies. Then we'll have to spend years and millions of dollars in court to fix the problems. Patience may be a virtue, but it's not applicable to every situation. Patients are only a virtue if you're a doctor. :)

  • my @home service loves linux! to use netscape just install quicktime... and uhm there isn't much tweaking required.
    i use suse and yast flies through the dhcp or a normal lan connection. its easy stuff.

    i guess if you need help email me :P
  • The first argument is debatable. But I am telling you after working 5 years for an ISP I have a nose for these things. The more ISPs running over cable will result in more marketing and more comapnies rushing to get people on cable. But this is more of hunch than anything. And your missing something in the cost of DSL you also have to pay for the line as well as the isp. So it cost more like $75-$80 rather than the $40 you mentioned.

    You have missed my whole point here. I will try and be a little more clear this time. Opening up the cable networks will not create competition. At least not the competition that will affect your level of reliability and the size of your bandwidth. It will not matter who you use for your ISP the media your connection will be going over will still be the cable company's network. See what I am saying here? You will have to pay the cable company for the data connection on their network, even if you get your IP address from "Ma 'n PA's ISP" you will still pay the cable company for getting your connection to whatever ISP you choose. You will still be at the mercy of the cable company to supply a level of serivce to your isp. This is the exact same situatuion with a dial-up line or DSL line. The company which owns the pipe controls your bandwith. Case in Point: Right about when modems started hitting 28800 and higher. Common problems started popping up such as line noise and frequency caps. Placing frequency caps on phone lines is common place for telcos. It can double or even triple the nummber of voice channels on a phone line but it limits frequency modulation so you end up getting only 24400 or 16400. The isp can't do anything about it. You call your ISP to complain they will say "Sorry call your phone company." Your at the mercy of the telco, and the first thing the telco will tell you is "Sorry we only promise data rates at 9600 over normal voices lines. Would you like to have some information on getting ISDN serivce?". Transpose this to the cable world. You connect to "Ma 'n Pa's ISP" through your local cable provider and for some reason you're barley getting 64K. You call Ma' n PA' and they see that there is a %20 packet lose at your neighboorhood segement. You will hear "Sorry. Nothing we can do about it call your cable company". The ISPs are not competitors in the broadband market. The only companies that will be competitors are other broadband players (a.k.a DSL/Satilite/BBOEL providers). Making cable comapnies allow ISPs to offer service over the cable nwtwork is not the right fix. And if you can't do something right don't do it at all, cause in the long run you will screw things up worse than they where.
  • Ok, point taken on the cable service. I guess I assumed that ISPs would be given some sort of negotiating power to keep them from getting the same crappy service that regular users get.

    So basically the only thing to worry about is the fact that DSL is very short-range (meaning it will take quite a long while to get to the point where it can provide effective competition with cable), satellite service is too expensive (but will probably be the only alternative for people who aren't in the cable or DSL service areas), and cable is too concentrated in the hands of a couple companies (again, less competition). I still believe that the cable companies should still be regulated since they have little to no competition. I live in a city of approx. 1 million. We have 1 cable provider. No choice whatsoever. Cable companies managed to hamstring satellite by preventing them from offering local channels. Now if you want satellite and local channels, you have to get an antenna too. There goes the competition, especially for people who can't normally pick up the local channels due to their location.

  • I do however agree with you that something needs to be done, I don't know about fed regulation (The Feds always leave a funny taste in my mouth)
    But maybe the cable markets should be opened up to allow multiple cable service providers in any given area. I guess though, I am lucky I have RoadRunner service through MultiMedia and they really kick ass. Sure I pay through the nose for their service (My cable bill is $110 a month OUCH!!), but if I have a problem it is fixed immediately. I am however really intrested in hearing more about BBOEL (Broadband over electrical lines)it is still a couple years out, still having problems with popping breakers when there is high modulation, but that will be the best competitor for cable. And the really cool thing is in my area the Single electrical company we have is having to make room for other electrical companies so there will be competition already in place. The next few years in the "Last Mile" market will be a very intresting drama to watch unfold.
  • thirds
  • At least with PacBell DSL is extremely Linux friendly and highly supported. I saw this on freshmeat yesterday if it's of use to anyone.
    AOL IP Tunnel client for Unix 0.5 []
    AOL now owns netscape, ICQ and Winamp... so far there hasn't been any "major" consequences. AIM coming with Netscape? Kind of a bummer, but easily avoidable.

  • Actually, the market has been driving AOL up quite a bit already. You might want to wait for the inevitable correction.

    I bought some at $79 myself.

  • Those yaks won't take any calls if you don't use their OS. One of their servers (smtp) was not fuctioning properly and the guy told me he couldn't help because I run Linux (and OS/2). When I asked what he would tell me IF I was on Wintendo, he said he would have me reset the modem, reinstall my email package, and reboot Wintendo. All this even though I told him I could GET email, browse the web, ftp and telnet worked fine. MS has control of RoadRunner so hopefully this deal will be better for its users.
  • I don't want AOL getting any more market share than they have already and that is alot.

    I also choose ASDL over cable anyday - the cost is comparable, the bandwidth doesn't decrease with an increase in users, and it is more secure.

  • After reading some comments it sounds like this deal wouldn't happen... which pleases me. The whole tech industry is very merger happy lately and yet every merger/acquisition I've been (informationally) close too has always gone poorly for the tech side.

    It's always very difficult to merge networks but that's only the beginnig. Try getting disperate tech departments to take responsiblity for the others work and assign responsibilities and do all this in an environment where everyone has begun to fear that they will be cut from the new company due to redundancy. It's a very difficult and hostile environment.

    I guess I'm saying... @Home has a huge network and I'm pretty happy with it's management so far. Every network could be managed better, @Home is (IMO) no worse than other large scale networks. I would hate to see the network upkeep enter a downward spiral of reorginization and restructuring due to a merger.
    Don Rude - AKA - RudeDude

  • by gsbarnes ( 14192 ) on Thursday September 30, 1999 @02:52PM (#1646685) Homepage

    Early this year, an eminent computer scientist gave a talk at the University of Washington, where he basically implied that the only broadband choices most people will have in the future are your local cable company and your local telephone company. When you think about it, this is pretty awful, as these entities (here in Seattle: TCI and USWest) are, at least in the United States, near the top of any consumer's list of most-hated corporations.

    One of the few rays of hope comes from Tacoma, Washington (of all places). Like many communities in the Pacific Northwest, Tacoma's electric utility is owned by the city itself. A few years ago they were thinking of adding a feature that would require them rewiring most of their network (I think it was to install automatic meter readers), and someone got the bright idea, "Hey, what if we ran an extra cable into every home as well?" The original thought was to get some competition for TCI, which was, as usual, not delivering on its commitments, but the cable could be used for Internet Service as well. Their survey estimated that the cost would be not much more than the original project, and bound to pay for itself within a few years from ISP and Cable fees. They ran a public opinion poll at the same time, which basically found that (a) If they priced their cable service less than TCI, an overwhelming number of citizens would switch. (b) Even if the services were roughly equivalent, 50% would switch (presumably out of disgust with TCI).

    So they're in the middle of the switch, and TCI has, predictably, fallen all over themselves upgrading Tacoma's networks. Anyway, I'd like to see more cities adopt this model. First, because I think in the future Internet access will be just as important a utility as our current utilities (phone, cable, water, etc.) and therefore worthy of an extra wire. Second, even if you don't think government-run utilities are a good idea (I think they are, but I won't get into that too much), we need more broadband options. Two isn't enough, especially two that are controlled by such dubious entities as your friendly neighborhood cable company and your friendly neighborhood phone company.

  • Keep in mind that _many_ 900-xxx-xxxx numbers are sold for "less than family" content and are offered by a few enormous companies (that make AOL look like a drop in the bucket). Sure, it is mandated by the .gov that they are a common carrier, but there is no indication from anyone in the Internet business that they are interested in censorship. That could change in the future. Also, keep in mind the nature of the net. It would be very difficult to keep sites blocked in any way other than scanning everything going through a router. If someone would censor your site, just encript it. Set up mirror sites. change your IP daily. Lots of options to keep the censors busy.
  • I think we need to look at the possibility of this merger from both sides of the fence. There would, of course, be advantages to having AOL merge with @home. Access to their intranet would be a nice addition to many people's array of internet tools. However, with such an addition, would there also be downfalls? I expect that there would not be any structural changes (to the @home backbone, and the way it works... etc), however, would we be experiencing any slowdowns, or price hikes due to this? It would certainly open up a new source of cashflow for @home. A merger with AOL would bring in lots of the Jane/John Doe's who have heard the AOL buzzword all over the place. Something like that could greatly help to get upgrades to the backbone in place. However, would such an influx of users overwhelm @home? blah.
  • The answer? "No. I have no idea where this current rumor started. Well, I have some idea, but it really looks like they've recirculated old news about negotiations that were stopped three months before the rumor hit the papers."

    This is quite usual. If it is true and he had said "yes" to you he may later have been prosecuted for a breach of SEC regulations and gone to jail, even if he wanted to tell you. This is one of the reasons why until it's ready to be offically announced to the market companies are so coy.

  • Dunno about now, but back in '93 they were running on a pair of Stratus mainframes. Uberfreak hardware.
  • 4) Some cable providers have stated commitments to add servers/switches if and when neighborhood bandwidth decreases to an unsatisfactory level. If a big player like AOL starts nipping at their market share, they should be even more willing to keep their customers happy.

    I can vouch for this. We're experiencing T-1 saturation on our system. If it weren't for a provisioning problem with Bell Atlantic, we would have had a DS-3 line in place last month, just before the problem started. We should be up on it in a week or 2. @home was taking care of this before we knew we had a problem on the local level.

    ...Now if they could get their tech support right!

  • Damn.. another monopoly! AOL will be harder to dislodge from monopoly status than Microsoft.
  • Well, to the best of my knowledge AOL is run by Sun boxes (Solaris I assume). I think this means that you _should_ have just as much a chance of access with Linux as opposed to Windows.
  • If AOL did start supporting Linux (and I'm not saying that they necessarily will) it would be an ENORMOUS boon for the Linux community. Sure, there are a ton of script-kiddies in AOL's chatrooms, but there's also a really large supply of everyday PC users who could prove invaluable in our quest for desktop domination.

    AOL for Linux + cheap Internet-ready PCs = Penguin Power

  • I keep trying to make this point:

    The ISP provides the following services:

    1. (*main purpose*) Provides the other end for your modem to connect to, establishing IP connectivity to your house, effectively extending the internet to the home.

    2. Mail Server
    3. Web Server space
    4. Usenet setver

    I would argue that cable modems, by themselves, do the job of #1, above -- they effectively extend the internet into the home. With cable, there is no set of corresponding cable modems on the other end that you're switched to, depending on what phone number you dialed. By attempting to force cable systems into the ISP model, you enormously drive up the cost. because the cable system would need to know "Ok. This house is a mindspring customer. Route his packets to the mindspring router." Just plain silly.

    As for the other 3 things I listed above, I see no reason why they should be grouped together -- why can't I use Hotmail as my mail server, some other usenet server and buy server space from a third place.

    So, I argue that if the government is going to mess around with the broadband market, it should prevent forced bundling of services -- The company proving access via cable modem should not be able to force people to also pay to use its mail servers, for example. (This is similar to how Local & Long Distance services are set up -- Sprint is my local carrier, but they don't force me to use Sprint as my LD carrier.)

  • The article does not say that they are merging. It even says that people from AT&T are saying it won't happen. What is this site coming to? Please read this stuff before posting it. Even if it does hint that this is a possibility, it doesn't even come close to saying anything like "Excite@HOME is restructuring its divisions to facilitate a merger with AOL." as mentioned in the post.
  • I also find this the best time for 24/7 tech support....

    I am up anyways at odd hours, might as well take advantage of the fact that some poor tech is bored out his/her skull at 3:30am just so that the company can claim 24/7 support... :-)

    [I know... if I didnt call at 3:30 then the company would not think that there was a need for tech support.. catch 22....]

  • One almost has to assume that AOL's motive for this is to have a broadband channel for delivering AOL content. The content is, after all, the business that they are in. I doubt that simply becoming a broadband ISP, offering raw internet connectivity, is what they are really after.

    So this brings up a lot of possibilities. Will they force AOL content down your throat if you want a cable modem? Will they start charging per hour rates as they do with dial-up access? Will they aggressively roll the service out to new areas? Will they maintain decent network capacity ? Who knows? It is certainly in their best interest to not alienate the existing non-newbie cable modem subscribers, but we all know that corporations occasionally act against their own best interest.

    As far as xDSL being an option: Yes and No. Here in Des Moines, I had a cable modem that was costing me roughly $40 a month. I was seeing speeds in excess of what you would get with a T1. When I moved to a different part of town, they couldn't service my area, so I got DSL. Now I pay around $60 a month for 256kbps, and am stuck behind USWEST's firewall. That's right, no incoming connections at all. Slower access, more money, and I can't telnet to my house. Not a very appealing option. Yes, it's better than a modem, but that's about all I'll say for it.

    Let's hope AOL doesn't screw up a good thing here.
  • by [bog-oh] ( 34246 )
    @home is a good company, and AOL, well...

    redundant, I know... but does this scare anyone else?
  • AOL is currently beta testing some "AOL Plus" software, which is basically the AOL clent optimized for high-speeg (as in cablemodem and adsl) connections.

    The @home deal is probably so that, once AOL Plus is released to the public, AOL can offer cablemodem service to their customers.

    Keep in mind that, if I missed some obvious detail that proves me wrong, it's because I didn't read the article... this is just the first explanation that popped into my head.

  • Maybe what "the market" needs is a strong competitor like @Home/Netscape/Compuserve/AOL/who's next? to keep Microsoft at bay. Did you ever think of that? I mean, MS dominates the software and OS industry, in the consumer space, and they're making significant inroads in other markets (witness Steve Ballmer's recent spiel about how MSN is going to take over the ISP scene because - hey man, that's where the game is at now baby, renting Office 2000 out to hapless consumers over the internet man!)
    On the other hand, when Stalin liberated east-Germany from Hitler. . . (significant artistic license taken from history to make a silly but valid point)

    "The number of suckers born each minute doubles every 18 months."
  • "I'm off to a meeting with the moron^H^H^H^H^Hmarketing department..." is the usual kind of usage - replacing what you *want* to say with what you are in some way *obliged* to say...

  • >>>
    The ISP provides the following services:

    1. (*main purpose*) Provides the other end for your modem to connect to, establishing IP connectivity to your house, effectively extending the internet to the home.

    Agreed, although I think you're missing the important point that they also provide some degree of connectivity beyond the modem, which I'll come back to in a minute.

    2. Mail Server
    3. Web Server space
    4. Usenet setver

    The only real reason you need the ISP to provide these is because of the temporary and low-bandwidth nature of your dial-up connection (or because you're not capable of running your own SMTP server for accepting incoming mail, which is frequently true for Windoze folks).

    Cable modems remove both of those limitations.

    I would argue that cable modems, by themselves, do the job of #1, above -- they effectively extend the internet into the home. With cable, there is no set of corresponding cable modems on the other end that you're switched to, depending on what phone number you dialed. By attempting to force cable systems into the ISP model, you enormously drive up the cost. because the cable system would need to know "Ok. This house is a mindspring customer. Route his packets to the mindspring router." Just plain silly.

    Not if you care about your upstream connection.

    There are small local ISPs who are tier-17 providers - they buy bandwidth from people who buy bandwidth from people who buy bandwidth from...

    There are ISPs who have backbones of their own, respectable international connections, are present at relevent peering points and have good transit agreements to get their customer's traffic to where it needs to go.

    I want to have the choice of who takes my packets a sends them where the going. And there's a fairly good chance I don't want it to be Joe Cableco, who knows something about fibre, maybe SDH, ATM and voice-switching, but is a relatively new player in the IP game. I want it to be someone with a proven track record in managing large(r than dialup) IP data streams.

  • I would assume that if they were to do this, they would probabely offer traditional cable modem access, and possibly their own 'local' AOL gateway for AOL over TCP, meaning that you should be able to continue normal access through linux, but I think you can forget being able to access AOL content :P As for price hikes.. good luck there.. but then that might encourage less cable modem subscribers, meaning less load on backbones, and less people making life hard for me because I don't have and can't get cable!
  • this is pathetic
  • by Anonymous Coward
    In canada BC and Ontario both have very widespread distribution of cable access and the government is forcing them to open it up to isps. Unfortunatly in the meantime the cable companies are jacking the prices up.
  • So, in addition to my silly Win95 system (I've got a Linux box next to it, give me some time) locking up at random intervals when my internet connection is idle, I'll ALSO have to download ads and pay more?

    Gee... I wonder what a busy signal on a cable modem sounds like... :-)


  • For doubters, there's confirmation of sorts at ZDNN []

    To me, part of the question is whether this is the price of getting AOL to back off the pressure for open access or whether Steve Case will be at least follow through on all the rhetoric of the last few months.

    As it stands, @Home is the only high-bandwidth connection to my neighborhood and their AUP doesn't allow me to hook up my home Linux network -- I'm stuck at 56k for the forseeable. (Yeah, I know they don't enforce their AUP but I'm funny that way.)
  • Typically you have to tweak your http://www to include the full name of the local head end. In my case, I have to specify to get to it. Also, you can first ping the fully qualified address to get the actual IP address, then enter that address in your HOSTS file to associate it with WWW. However, Nutscrape is a bit tweaky about the address "http://www" by itself and sometimes tries weird things like or tries to search for 'www'.

    Ack! Just don't tell me that we are going to get AO-Hell shoved down our throats! I will go with DSL if that happens!

  • If my Cox@Home suddenly becomes AOL@Home, I am dropping that and going DSL! (Yes, I am one of those horribly spoiled people who has both cable modem and DSL service in my neighborhood! Don't I just piss you off? :) )
  • okay, I've been reading slashdot for like 2 years now, and I still can't figure out what the fsck ^H^H^H^H^H^H is supposed to mean. What the h#() is it?

    (sorry for being so blatantly offtopic, but nobody I know uses this or knows what it means either, and I work at a software company)

    "The number of suckers born each minute doubles every 18 months."
  • I'd hardely say this is new news. AOL has been touting their up-coming AOL-Anyware for some time now (at least since the beginning of 1999). It will allow access to AOL from almost any means, Cable, T1, OC-192, etc. etc.

    Scary? Yes. The future? Unfortunatly.

  • I agree, getting paranoid before learning why is a little silly. But, being silly isn't quite as bad as being an arse and flaming him for it.
    "Fight fire with fire," and all that.
  • AOL has a history of not messing with other ISPs it buys. It mainly buys other companies for their products and names. So I wouldn't think anything would change. But who knows.
  • As much as it may hurt for some users, An @Home/AOL deal would be great for the 2 companies.

    @Home gets accsess to AOL's 17 million loyal customers. Some of which are so loyal they won't switch, even for broadband. It would give them AOL's name recognition, and clout.

    AOL would get accsess to the obvious. Broadband. Which will eventually kill any and all ISPs that don't hop on the bandwagon. It make take awhile, but eventually dialup will die, and those who don't offer something better, will die with it.

    I've always wondered why these companies didn't sit down to talk earlier.

  • There's a lot of competition right now. Cable isn't the only way of getting high speed access, and panicking about monopolies this early is a bit foolish. Remember: the market is not 'cable modems'. The market is question is 'high speed bandwidth'.

    Admittedly, cable companies are in a better position than are telephone companies, but they are rapidly pissing away their lead. While they have much better basic infrastructure for carrying large amounts of bandwidth, they are thinking cheap. A simple review of their membership agreement shows their real agenda: they want to sell you the service, but they don't want you to use it. Most activities that would use bandwidth in any sort of steady, consistent way are banned. Servers of any sort are not allowed on @home. You can't run a mail server OR a Quake server. If they catch you running one, they can shut you off, no questions asked, and no refunds.

    Remember, their management is used to being 'a cable company'. They really have no clue what it means to be in the bandwidth market. Right now, their thinking appears to be, 'Okay, we'll sell you the bandwidth, but don't you dare use it." They are more in the position of the railroad barons of the 1800s, but few of them realize it.

    Because of the noxious usage restrictions, I have avoided cablemodems, and have instead been signed up with Pacific Bell DSL since about February. Their AUP is very different: their whole attitude is different. The AUP is approximately: don't do illegal stuff.

    The basic assumption is that you will USE the bandwidth you have. The rates are structured for that. I have 384K down/128K up guaranteed for $80/mo. (I pay for 5 IP addresses -- that costs $30/mo more.) That's a lot more than a cable modem, but note that I have no noxious restrictions on what I may run. I assume I could run an adult site if I wished, though of course doing that on a 128K upload restriction is silly. :)

    I have had two major problem areas. My first was that, like clockwork, at 9PM most nights, my DSL would go offline. I ignored it for the first 2 or 3 weeks, because I figured they were doing maintenance -- because it was so regular, I assumed it was scheduled. However, when it went down and STAYED down for a day and I half, I called and squawked. They sent out a tech, who replaced the modem (I had an Alcatel A1000, rev A0: they replaced it with a B0) and all was well. I'm still not sure why it was always 9PM. Maybe someone was running a hair dryer close to the line or something.

    The second problem was more recent. In the local area, the network was totally saturated. I have several coworkers also on PacBell DSL (at my recommendation primarily) and they were seeing the same thing. Our ping times had gone astronomical, and it was impossible to play action games online.

    I finally got pissed and called and complained -- loudly -- and sent in traceroutes showing 300ms round trips starting 2 hops away. I didn't hear anything more from them -- but 2 weeks later the problems went away, and I'm back to about 60ms round trip times almost anyplace. I assume they upgraded an overloaded router. I wish they had called me, but at least they fixed it.

    Overall, in my opinion, it's decent service. I don't expect 100% perfection at these rates, and I haven't gotten it either. :-)

    What I really like is that, while they guarantee only 384K down, I actually get close to 1.5Mbps down. My upload rate is definitely hard capped at 128K, however. If the service came in a 384/384 speed I'd be fat and happy. 128K up is a bit skinny, but it works okay. I would rather have a capped, reliable rate than a fast, unreliable one.

    PacBell understands what it means to be in the bandwidth business. If you know what you are doing, you can call their technical center and deal with the same people you'd work with if you had a T1. If you're a networking professional, I suggest you consider them. If they realize you know what you're talking about, they'll work with you on a professional level.

    For all these reasons, there's not really any reason to panic yet about cable modems being run by just a few companies, or even just one. Again, the market is 'bandwidth', not 'cable modems'. The phone companies are behind but not THAT much. Their better understanding of the bandwidth business gives them a real service advantage, at least in many cases.

    The time to worry is when you see a single company owning large fractions of more than one competing type of service. The fact that AT&T is selling DSL now actually worries me. I do not believe AT&T is likely to be very competitive with itself, and I know they own a cable company. THAT, I think, is a problem.

    In comparison, @Home buying Excite is nearly irrelevant, IMO.
  • AOL is making plans for cable access, their new beta client AOL Plus, was designed for multimedia over broadband. I wouldn't be surpirsed if their was a merger between AOL and a Cable Provider.

    Meanwhile, when can I get a cable modem???
  • ^H is Control-H, which is the ASCII representation of the baskspace character. If you've ever been typing over a telnet link that was configured to use Delete, not Backspace, as the "erase character" character and you hit backspace, what you'll see appear at the other end is ^H.

    So many people use ^H as a means of representing an overstrike in pure text, e.g. "I was going to write *this*, but I thought better of it and wrote *that* instead."

    I'm trying to think of a witty example, but none spring to mind.
    New E-mail address! If I'm in your address book, please update it.

  • Having read the article I'm going to guess that the facts are really out of whack on this one. Why would AT&T request that @Home be sold. My guess would be that AT&T was working on a deal where @Home users would be able to directly access AOL from there PC's. The user would be able to choose their web provider (AOL or otherwise). Of course this is only a guess and I could be very wrong. I guess we'll know is a little while (a week or 2 maybe).
  • argh, bad english

    Make that, they can no longer tie the @home service with there cable modem service as a product of the judges ruling.

    Thinking in programing language and then writing produces strange code and sentances.
    ^~~^~^^~~^~^~^~^^~^^~^~^~~^^^~^^~~^~~~ ^~~^~
  • by Doc Hopper ( 59070 ) <> on Thursday September 30, 1999 @01:13PM (#1646750) Homepage Journal
    I work for iMALL, Inc. which is soon to be acquired by Excite@Home. We just met today with Joe Kraus, one of the six co-founders of Excite. One of the questions asked was "Is there any truth to the rumor that Excite@Home is considering merging with AOL?"
    The answer?
    "No. I have no idea where this current rumor started. Well, I have some idea, but it really looks like they've recirculated old news about negotiations that were stopped three months before the rumor hit the papers."
    He went on to say that yes, Excite@Home was talking with AOL months ago about putting portal links up on Excite pages for AOL/Netscape services. AOL thought Excite@Home's requirements were too high (a stock-sharing arrangement with AOL in exchange for the space) and the negotiations were dropped immediately (we're talking like 6 months ago).
    The current restructuring is necessary to ease the burden on corporate heads and to bring divisions more inline with Excite@Home's underlying corporate philosophies and "the way things work" in the company. Things have been a bit uncomfortable since Excite's merger with @Home, but now the two complementary businesses (broadband access & search/portal business) support each other better, as well as make room for the upcoming merger with iMALL to serve as their e-commerce division.
    I hope this has helped dispell this unfounded rumor.
  • by JoeShmoe ( 90109 ) <> on Thursday September 30, 1999 @01:20PM (#1646784)
    In fact, I'm only paying $30/month instead of the normal price of $40/month because of AOL.

    Recently in the Bay Area (CA), @Home advertised a promotion designed to attract existing AOL members. Basically, they waved all installation fees ($150) and then would pay your AOL bill until the year 2000. The way they did this is by having your change your $22/month AOL account to AOL's $10/month "BYOA" (Bring Your Own Access) deal where you keep your AOL account, but cannot dial into their AOLNet numbers. So, instead you connect to AOL over a TCP/IP connection...which is what @Home gives you.

    They pay for your account by basically subtracting $10/month from your @Home bill. I signed up for this in July so, it will save me probably $150 + $60.

    Anyway, this news comes too late for anyone in the Bay Area who missed the ads on late-night TV but my point is that @Home is already following AOL's plan of "AOL anywhere". AOL doesn't care how the AOL content gets to customers (be it satellite, cable, DSL, etc)...they just want to sell their proprietary content. I find it funny that about a month before this deal, AOL was lobbying for "open lines" so that AOL could have access to all of the cable modem customers. @Home wasn't interested in letting people choose AOL as their ISP. But then, a month later they offer this deal and basically tell people "you can have TWO ISPs and it's even cheaper!"

    Technically, I now have eight e-mail address (five from AOL, three from @Home) and 20 MB of web space (10MB from AOL, 10MB from @Home). Yet, I used to be paying $22 + $40 and now I'm paying $30. I don't understand the business behind it, but I think that @Home really tipped its hands by offering this deal. They obviously lust after AOL's 16 million + members.

    - JoeShmoe

    -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
  • by Wakko Warner ( 324 ) on Thursday September 30, 1999 @01:20PM (#1646785) Homepage Journal
    The link to the article exists so you can READ IT before spouting off this "Gee I hope I don't have to use AOL as an ISP!!!" bullshit.

    From what I gleaned from the text of the article, AOL would control the Excite part of @home, and AT&T would control the ISP part. That's IF the deal happens at all, which probably won't be the case because Cox has veto power and is against the breakup of @home, which would be necessary for the deal to take place anyway.

    Your Linux cable connection is not going to go away any time soon. Please read the article before getting paranoid.

    - A.P.

    "One World, one Web, one Program" - Microsoft promotional ad

  • 1) As far as the user is concerned, Cable Modems are ethernet. The only time you would have to connect to your provider is if you wanted to use their server services for email, web hosting, etc. My housemates and I have a Time Warner cable modem now (wired the house yadda yadda...) and have yet to do anything with their servers. DHCP and IP Masquesading take care of it all. No need to be force fed AOL's content, and you should be able to easilly leapfrog around any attempts at censorship.
    2) AOL may be entering Broadband, but the cable companies and baby bells are the huge segment of the market. There's nothing to tick off the FCC about yet.

    3) On the other hand, there's ISP down here in Texas that has a saying "If you've got AOL, you're SOL."

    4) Some cable providers have stated commitments to add servers/switches if and when neighborhood bandwidth decreases to an unsatisfactory level. If a big player like AOL starts nipping at their market share, they should be even more willing to keep their customers happy.
  • If there's one thing everyone agrees on, it's broadband is the future of the net.

    While someone who's only broadband choice is their local cable company might believe there's no competition -- that's only because the cable company got there first and is now reaping the rewards of being first. While the greedy robber barons gouge you on price and skimp you on bandwidth, the phone companies are scrambling to roll out DSL and are moving at near light speed compared to their usual glacier mentalities. Don't rule out the wireless companies who see a way to get around the unreadable cost of laying wires to the home. Even the electric companies are trying to grab their slice of the pie.

    The FCC is so very right to keep a relatively hands off approach because right now the free market is working exactly the way the free market should work, even if it's not moving as quickly as most of us would like.

    For the record I use DSL because my cable company's Internet service was next to unusable. I wasn't the only one who made the switch and my neighbor is telling me that the Cable Company is finally getting around to upgrading its service. If they do a good enough job and the cost for bandwidth is a better value than DSL, I might even switch back.

    In the future I will be able to choose wireless or maybe even the electric company, but I will be able to choose. So will you.

    Assuming, of course, the FCC continues to stay as far away from this issue as is humanly possible.
  • I should buy aol stock. it would be like buying ms stock when 3.1 was released. it seemed big then, but it will only keep getting bigger. mm. yummm. money.

"The one charm of marriage is that it makes a life of deception a neccessity." - Oscar Wilde