Speed Date for Dixons Group and AOL

- Promotional partnership takes AOL Broadband into 1,100 PC World, Currys, Dixons and The Link stores
- AOL to double broadband speeds for all AOL Broadband Silver, Gold and Platinum customers at no extra cost
- AOL launches unlimited 2Mbps broadband service and Home Networking package

AOL today announced it is doubling broadband speeds for all AOL Broadband Silver, Gold and Platinum customers at no extra cost and will be launching AOL Broadband in all 1,100 Dixons Group UK stores for the first time on February 14.

At the same time, AOL becomes one of the first DSL broadband providers to launch an unlimited 2Mbps service. All AOL Broadband services include free modem and installation, access to an exclusive broadband content package and free customer service and technical support.

John Clare, Dixons Group Chief Executive, said: “We’re very excited to be partnering with AOL, an acknowledged worldwide leader in Internet services with a first class reputation. The new broadband deals on offer are the perfect companion for our state-of the-art range of PCs and laptops. Our customers will welcome the blistering speed of AOL Broadband, which offers an amazing range of content and services.”

From this week, AOL’s broadband offering for new customers will be as follows:
· AOL Broadband Silver - £17.99 a month for an unlimited service up to 512Kbps (previously 256Kbps)
· AOL Broadband Gold - £24.99 a month for an unlimited service up to 1Mbps (previously 512Kbps)
· AOL Broadband Platinum - £29.99 a month for an unlimited service up to 2Mbps (previously 1Mbps)

Karen Thomson, Chief Executive at AOL UK, said: “The success of our partnership with Dixons Group has strongly benefited our dial-up business in the last 12 months. We’re confident that our broadband services will perform just as well in-store, and the launch of our Home Networking package paves the way to the digital home for even more consumers.”

She added: “We’re now seeing broadband usage outstripping dial-up, month on month, and with the addition of 2Mbps services, consumers will be able to take full advantage of new content and services, such as video on demand, which will become available over the next year.”

AOL will automatically upgrade broadband speeds for all existing customers as quickly as possible. The existing Platinum 2 trial 2Mbps service, at £34.99 per month, will now include free dial-up roaming access. AOL Broadband members on the ntl cable network will be upgraded to a 1Mbps service.

As part of the Dixons Group broadband roll-out, AOL is also launching a wireless home networking package in conjunction with hardware manufacturer NETGEAR. The ‘AOL and NETGEAR for Home Networking’ package enables users to access a broadband Internet connection on a computer and a range of home devices simultaneously, and makes setting up a home network easier and faster.

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Notes to editors

All of AOL’s broadband services include McAfee Firewall Plus TM, advanced Parental Controls and anti-spam protection, and email anti-virus scanning, while AOL remains one of the few ISPs to offer free customer service. AOL continues to offer unlimited services as Internet usage increases, with its UK members spending a total of more than one billion hours online in 2004.

AOL’s full broadband range will be promoted and distributed alongside its dial-up offering in Dixons, PC World, Currys and The Link stores as of February 14. This is the second stage of a promotional partnership between AOL and Dixons Group, the first phase of which saw the launch of AOL dial-up services in February 2004.

The ‘AOL and NETGEAR for Home Networking’ package includes a NETGEAR wireless modem router, one month’s subscription to AOL Broadband Gold, and additional filters as well as an easy-installation CD, which automatically carries out the set-up process for home networking.

A second package, AOL Broadband in a Box, will include a broadband modem and two months subscription to AOL Broadband Silver. AOL Broadband in a Box and the ‘AOL and NETGEAR for Home Networking’ offering will be available from February, with additional products and services to be launched across 2005. AOL members have access to a free customer and technical helpline, including a dedicated Home Networking support function.

For further information, please contact:

Jonathan Lambeth or Louise Tipton, AOL UK 020 7348 8272 / 020 7348 8096
JonathanLambeth@aol.com / LouiseTiptonUK@aol.com

Hamish Thompson, Dixons Group 01727 203195 / 07702 684290

About AOL

AOL is the leading online interactive services provider to the UK, with more than 2.3 million members, including more than on AOL Broadband. AOL offers a range of online interactive services in the UK, including flat-rate, broadband and mobile, as well as unrivalled content and community for all the family.

Members spend more than one hour a day online on average, enjoying access to AOL’s 24 channels of online content, from Entertainment and News to Parenting, Shopping and Money, as well as email and the Internet. All AOL members in the UK have access to freephone customer support.

The AOL service is provided to UK subscribers by AOL Europe Services SARL, a company in the AOL group based in Luxembourg. AOL (UK) Limited is part of AOL Europe, a business unit of America Online Inc., which is the world’s leading interactive services company with more than 29 million members worldwide. America Online Inc. is a division of Time Warner Inc., a leading media and entertainment company, whose businesses include interactive services, cable systems, filmed entertainment, television networks and publishing.

About Dixons Group

Dixons Group is Europe’s leading electrical retailer. Headquartered in the UK, the Group employs 38,000 staff in 1,400 stores across 13 countries. The Group trades in the UK, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Spain and Sweden. Leading retail brands operated by the Group include Dixons, Currys, The Link, PC World, PC City, Electro World, UniEuro, Elkjop, El Giganten, Kotsovolos and Lefdal Lavpris. Business-to-business brands include PC World Business, Genesis Communications and Dixons Group Business Services. Own-brand sourcing operations are managed by the Group’s OmniSource division. The Group is also a leading provider of financial and after-sales services.