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BESIEGED AMERICA ONLINE HAS TO COPE WITH A NOVEL PROBLEM--TOO MANY CUSTOMERS--BUT REMAINS THE BIGGEST THING IN CYBERSPACE

For standard bearers of the computer revolution, the techies who run America Online have a pretty shaky grasp of basic math. Let's see: you're the most successful online service in Internet history, with membership rolls shooting up in only three years from 500,000 to 7 million. You're about to launch a snazzy TV ad campaign built around a radical change in pricing policy: from stiff, pay-by-the-hour bills to unlimited all-you-can-eat access to the Internet for $19.95 a month. Yet you have added only a modest number of modems to the 200,000 you already need to service your teeming masses. On Dec....

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