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AOL Inc - the Internet division of the monster AOL Time Warner media outfit - now boasts more than 29 million members around the world , according to its latest figures.

Global membership increased by a million over the last month, and the amount of time people spend online is also on the increase. According to AOL, its punters average almost 70 minute online each day - up from 64 minutes a year ago.

In an industry that appears to have a monopoly on bad news righy now, such news is heartening. Well, it is for AOL at least.

Barry Schuler, Chairman and CEO of AOL Inc, was so chuffed he said that the figures showed that AOL was playing an "increasingly central part of our members' lives".

That's some claim.

Last week MSN reported that five million people in the US were using its ISP to access the Net. ®

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