Q: I have an AOL account but I want to subscribe to Comcast. Do I need to keep my AOL account? John G., Lowell
A: No, you don't need to keep your AOL account but you need to be aware of some issues when making a decision about your telecommunications options. It's a lot like choosing your telephone long distance provider. Plans frequently change and there are a lot of choices.
Your computer's connection to the Internet could be a telephone wire, DSL, or cable connection. There are some other options but the average home computer user will usually limit their choice to a phone line, DSL, or cable connection.
There are a few issues to consider when choosing your ISP (Internet Service Provider). Do you need connection speed? Are you going to just read email? What is your monthly budget? Will you be surfing the Internet? No, you don't need a surfboard and waves to surf the Internet. Surfing is a term used to describe looking at webpages.
The ISP that you choose will provide the connection to the Internet. If you chose a dialup modem ISP, you will need a modem and a phone line to connect to the Internet. Don't forget that you tie up your phone when you are on the Internet. If you choose your cable provider as your ISP, you will need an ethernet card to communicate with the cable modem that is connected to the cable.
Most ISPs offer you an email address. If you have AOL and want to convert to Comcast, you don't need to keep AOL but there is an important issue to consider. Your email address will change. Since you will no longer have an AOL account, you will not be able to receive email using an AOL email address. It is a headache to change your email address but it is manageable.
Comcast has been very busy lately converting customers from the old dial up Internet connection to cable modem or broadband. Don't forget when you convert to cancel your old dial up ISP or you will be paying for service that you don't use.
TIP: There are some interesting email scams that frequently circulate the web. Have you received email that you have won the lottery? Has someone posing as your bank emailed you to ask private information? Did a foreign official email to ask for help moving money out of his country?
Don't get suckered into responding to this nonsense.
Be wary of any email that promises something too good to true or asks you for private information. Don't forget the old saying, "If it's too good to be true, it usually is".