The idea behind the pipeline, called TeraPOP, is to directly link the online giant to Web-hosting service backbones, thus avoiding a series of exchange points that may slow down connection to the Internet.
The connections are established using a number of lines, including optical carrier and digital signal lines. The connections include OC-12 and other, smaller-bandwidth lines, such as OC-3 and DS-3. OC-12 lines comprise 12 T3 lines and can transfer data at speeds of up to 622 million bits per second, while OC-3 lines comprise three T3 lines that support speeds of up to 155 million bits per second.
DS-3 lines carry speeds comparable to standard T3 lines at close to 45 million bits per second. The size of the pipeline will be based on the number of subscribers a given service provider has.
"It's an agreement with a lot of companies that eliminates the need for members to go through multiple exchange points when they go through the Internet," said AOL spokeswoman Wendy Goldberg. "It streamlines flow through cyberspace to reduce congestion on the Internet."
Internet congestion has been a problem for AOL in the past, and is one of the perennial complaints from members who claim the service is slow and often stalls.
AOL also has been criticized in the past for using a network that has not been able to support millions of users trying to access the Internet or simply log on to their accounts.
Web hosting services involved in TeraPOP include: AboveNet Communications, Comstor Network Services, Concentric Network, Conxion, Exodus Communications, Geonet, GTE Internetworking, PSINet, ServInt Internet Services, and WINSTAR Communications, among others.