AT&T Billed an Elderly Man $24,000 for Using AOL Dial-Up

Jay Hathaway · 04/28/15 03:50PM

An 83-year-old Los Angeles man couldn’t believe the bills AT&T kept sending him for his simple landline phone account—more than $24,000 over two months. But the company insisted he had to pay it, even though it seemed impossible that dialing up to AOL—the only thing he really used the line for—could cost that much.

Lacey Donohue · 09/25/13 08:32PM

A new study shows that 15 percent of American adults do not go online, citing its irrelevancy, difficulty, or expense as reasons they stay away. Of those Americans who do go online, three percent still use a dial-up connection.

What to do with AOL's dial-up business?

Owen Thomas · 05/29/08 03:00PM

Time Warner is trying to split AOL's dial-up business from its Web-content operations, and running into trouble in the process, says Henry Blodget. The problem: Allocating costs. AOL can run its websites cheaply in part because it has so many servers running email and other services for subscribers; scale economics mean that servers and bandwidth cost less. A smaller, standalone Web-publishing operation wouldn't enjoy the same benefits. But I suspect the larger problem is allocating revenues, not costs.

EarthLink's choice: just fade away

Owen Thomas · 04/24/08 03:00PM

Rolla Huff, the CEO of Internet service provider EarthLink, has made a choice many in Silicon Valley find incomprehensible: He's no longer bothering to get new customers. Here, the moment you stop growing — no, the very second your momentum falters — you're instantly written off. But the reason why EarthLink swung to a $54 million profit in its first quarter was simple. Its new dial-up customers — yes, people are still signing up for dial-up — simply weren't worth its while, and EarthLink stopped spending money to market service to them. Huff has also pulled the company out of the municipal Wi-Fi market, selling some networks to city governments and shuttering others. He's similarly disentangling the company from its Helio cell-phone joint venture, a half-billion-dollar fiasco. All of that doesn't leave EarthLink with much of a future.

Nicholas Carlson · 10/15/07 03:21PM

Microsoft and Best Buy are liable for subscribing the retailer's customers to Microsoft's Internet service, MSN, without consent, the Supreme Court ruled today by overturning a lower court's ruling on an appeal. One question the Supremes should have asked: "Who in their right mind subscribes to dialup anymore?" [AP]