AOL Europe invests $75 million in German schools program

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HAMBURG--AOL Europe, a joint venture between AOL Europe and Bertlesmann in Germany, is planning to invest $75 million to provide 44,000 schools, 900,000 teachers and 10 million pupils free Internet access via AOL.

AOL already provides Internet access to 4,800 schools, but many schools have found the telephone fees prohibitively expensive. AOL Internet access is equipped with a safety device for children to prevent downloading of pornography.

AOL will provide 900,000 teachers with cost-free monthly access to the Internet for professional and private use. "Unfortunately, we cannot take over the telephone costs," adds Andreas Schmidt, president-CEO of AOL Europe.

For the 10 million pupils, AOL plans a special rate of $5 a month, allowing pupils to enter the Internet every day for an hour without extra charges.

AOL and sister brand Compuserve together have 1.5 million members, whileDeutsche Telekom's T-Online has 4.2 million members. Grey Duesseldorf handles AOL's German campaign, which starsg former tennis champion Boris Becker.

Bonn-based Deutsche Telekom rolled out its own educational initiative,"Germany goes Online," on Feb. 11. It offers 40,000 schools free ISDN connection and Internet access. Deutsche Telekom says this initiative will not feature in its advertising campaign handled by SEA Duesseldorf.

Copyright February 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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