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AOL quick to offer faster broadband

1Mbps ADSL could soon become the industry standard, as AOL puts its muscle behind the service

 AOL has become one of the first major UK Internet service providers to unveil a full commercial 1Mbps ADSL product.

The ISP announced on Monday that it will charge £34.99 per month for the service, which is twice as fast as its existing 512Kbps service. It will also cover the upgrade charge levied by BT on users who move from 512Kbps to 1Mbps, if they sign a 12-month contract.

AOL says that it is launching the product to all its members, and new customers, after a successful trial run of the service this summer and autumn.

"The trial was so popular that we wanted to get it out to people as fast as we could," said an AOL spokesman.

A number of smaller ISPs have already launched 1Mbps broadband products, based on BT Wholesale's 1Mbps ADSL product. However, AOL is the largest ISP yet to come out with full pricing details and a full launch.

AOL believes that the product will appeal to a subset of users, as there aren't very many services online yet that need a 1Mb link. People who often do several online tasks at once, such as surfing Web sites while downloading a large file, could well benefit.

"This product will appeal to leading edge users who want very fast access, and people who work from home," the AOL spokesman suggested.

AOL was one of the last ISPs to launch a 512Kbps ADSL service, but is now one of the major players. The company may hope that by being quick to offer 1Mb it might attract more technically adept customers who haven't been attracted by its family-friendly branding.