AT&T last week introduced Personal Online Services, a Web service slated to launch next year. The company also deployed its AT&T Business Network on the Interchange Online Network platform and announced plans for the AT&T Learning Network, an Internet access service for schools.
Although the services target separate markets, they stem from a three-pronged strategy developed by AT&T's Business Communications Service. The first two prongs focus on Internet access and hosting services. The third prong is content.
With more than 80 million consumer customers and 10 million business customers, AT&T has a tremendous potential market at its fingertips. The company projects that by 2000 there will be more than 50 million people online.
"We're focusing on a large group of consumers who have the capability to go online and don't, as well as that group of consumers who'd like to go online but don't have the capability yet," an AT&T spokesman said of the new Personal Online Services venture.
The consumer service's first offering, with content from IVI Publishing, Minneapolis, focuses on health and fitness. Users will be able to browse parts of the Web site for free or subscribe to the service on a "pay per need" or subscription basis.
AT&T plans to open at least nine other areas-similar in structure but differing in content-on the Web over the next 18 months.
These ventures will not affect AT&T's Interchange Online Network, an Internet-based publishing platform that hosts a collection of specialized online services from independent publishers.
In fact, the AT&T Business Network (a content service coming from AT&T's New Media department geared toward businesses) went live last week on Interchange.
The Business Network costs about $40 per month for 10 hours of time and offers information from publishers including CNN Interactive, Dow Jones Business Information Services and Cowles Business Media. Interchange's current subscriber base is 30,000.
Also last week, AT&T committed $150 million over five years to offer free Internet access and voice-messaging services to more than 110,000 private and public schools across the country.
The marketer will offer free dial-up Internet access, browser software and 100 free hours of use-with a 30% discount on service thereafter.