Some great statistics on AOL and the broadband market from this New York Times article by Saul Hansell.
- AOL has 500,000 broadband subscribers, or four percent of the overall market. (Not counting the RoadRunner subscribers of Time Warner cable.)
- Because of free trials and other discounts, AOL’s average revenue per subscriber is $18.18, compared to $20.75 for EarthLink, even though AOL charges $2 per month more.
- Only 10 percent of US households have a computer but no online service.
The article raises some good questions about whether AOL can ever replicate the dominance it enjoyed in the dial-up world. One thing the piece doesn’t point out is that no one will be able to deliver a seamless national broadband offering. Last-mile access is fragmented among regional phone and cable companies, plus geographic differences (residential density and topography) make different broadband options viable in different areas. This may actually be a good thing for AOL. The broadband winners will have to create a national brand distinct from specific infrastructure — precisely what AOL did with its dial-up service.