Earthlink has spent the last few years exploring every possible solution in an effort to get around the competition firewall erected by incumbent carriers, ranging from city Wi-Fi efforts to broadband over powerline technology. None of those worked, and not that long ago Earthlink was trying to remain afloat by refocusing on dial-up
. In a bit of good news for the company, it appears they've just announced
the completion of a new broadband project that delivers 500 miles of fiber to under-served regions of Tennessee. The project was funded thanks to $9.4 million in federal stimulus by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), and it appears that Earthlink is focusing on serving businesses and community anchor institutions, as well as 10 Gbps broadband interconnection to other carriers.
The other day we reported that Earthlink appeared to have joined a long list of ISPs
using new technology that allows them to net search referral fees for both the hardware vendor and ISPs -- by sniffing and modifying user search traffic. Paxfire and RCN are currently being sued for the practice
, and it remains unclear if the practice is legal.
For years ISPs have been using DNS redirection, or redirecting users who visit misspelled or nonexistent domains to ISP run ad-laden search portals. The technology is a significant money maker for ISPs, estimated to bring them at least an additional $5 per user, per month. story continues..
You'll recall that Earthlink's fortunes collapsed after their wireless MVNO (Helio) flamed out spectacularly, and ISPs were no longer required to provide third party access to next-generation networks. Earthlink tried a lot of ways to get around the incumbent ISP gridlock -- from municipal wireless to broadband over powerline
-- though none of them materialized.
Earthlink is the latest ISP to settle a class action lawsuit that's been ongoing since 2005 over the company's early termination fees. According to a copy of the settlement
(pdf, the conditions start on page 9), Earthlink has agreed to pay $3.7 million in attorney fees and expenses, but will also be doling out $7,500 in "incentive awards" to three members of the class action.
Earlier this year, we noted
how the press became enamored with the idea that the recession was driving people back to dial-up, even if reporters lacked a shred of data to support the idea. The articles (be they from the Associated Press
, Tampa Tribune
or Chicago Tribune
, all started with the sad tale of some poor Joe or Jane who decided to slum it on 56kbps because his or her retirement fund tanked.
According to user posts in our Earthlink DSL
and Earthlink Cable
forums, the carrier appears to be having a significant server outage that has prohibited Earthlink customers from accessing their e-mail or any Earthlink-hosted website
. Calls to the company's 888 number indicate the company is working to resolve the problem, and the company's representatives say the troubles are related to a power outage in Pasadena. Atlanta-based EarthLink serves about 2.8 million customers, but has struggled to stay relevant with the decline of dial-up. Without the ability to resell service via next-generation networks, Earthlink turned to options like BPL and municipal Wi-Fi without success.
Earthlink released their fourth quarter earnings
last week, posting a yearly profit of $189.6 million in 2008. However, Earthlink recently lost $80 million on Muni-Fi, their investments in broadband over powerline (BPL) have gone nowhere, the government says they can't share access to next-generation broadband networks, and their effort to run an MVNO (Helio) flamed out spectacularly. So while Earthlink is leaner and more profitable, it's not exactly clear what they plan to do to make money after 14 years as an ISP. The carrier recently stated it was going to focus on acquiring dial-up operators (including AOL's dial-up customers) -- but now says that is no longer happening
Earthlink lost $80 million on Muni-Fi last year, their investments in broadband over powerline (BPL) have gone nowhere, the government says they can't share access to next-generation broadband networks, and their effort to run an MVNO (Helio) flamed out spectacularly. In addition, they recently laid off a swath of employees and suggested their hope for survival lays in the lap of refocusing on dial-up
. If there's a company that's on death watch, it's Earthlink -- yet the company's latest quarterly earnings
indicate the company actually posted a $55 million profit last quarter. There's still serious questions about your future when your primary hope lies with a dying technology -- but for now Earthlink lives on.....
In what's not particularly surprising news, Earthlink today stated
that the struggling internet service provider will be cutting more jobs. After cutting 900 jobs last year, the ISP has informed "less than 60" employees they'll be terminated sometime in the next four months. The company lost $80 million on Muni-Fi last year, their investments in broadband over powerline (BPL) have gone nowhere, the government says they can't share access to next-generation broadband networks, and their effort to run an MVNO (Helio) flamed out spectacularly. Their CEO's survival strategy? Try to focus on long term customers and re-focus the ISPs efforts on dial-up connectivity
Earthlink is in a bit of a bind. The company lost $80 million on Muni-Fi last year, their investments in broadband over powerline have gone nowhere, the government says they can't share access to next-generation broadband networks, and their effort to run an MVNO (Helio) flamed out spectacularly. story continues..
I remain morbidly fascinated in seeing what the barely animated corpse of Earthlink plans to do next. The company lost $80 million on Muni-Fi last year, their investments in broadband over powerline have gone nowhere, they can't share access to next-generation broadband networks, and their effort to run an MVNO (Helio) flamed out spectacularly. story continues..
As they threatened last week
if they couldn't transfer ownership, Earthlink is pulling the plug on Philly's incomplete Wi-Fi network. According to their press release
, the company is giving users of the network until June 12 to
steal service from any of a million nearby unsecured hotspots
switch to another provider.
It looks like the public Wi-Fi network in Philadelphia may be shut down
if the city can't negotiate some kind of transfer deal with Earthlink. Earthlink stopped accepting new customers last week, and gave the city until today to negotiate an offer, but the city's mayor doesn't seem keen
on the idea of spending city money.
by KathrynV 01:01PM Saturday Apr 26 2008
Earthlink is in the process of figuring out what to do with the few remaining Wi-Fi networks
left over from its ambitious plans to blanket the nation with wireless cities. As part of that process, they have announced
that they will be shutting off their New Orleans Wi-Fi network as of May 18th. Earthlink apparently tried to sell the network as well as to transfer it to either the city itself or to a third party; all attempts to do so have failed and New Orleans will now just lose the network entirely. Earthlink assures customers in the area that the company would be happy to provide them with alternate EarthLink high-speed broadband or dial-up services after their service is terminated. After significantly cutting its spending, Earthlink was able to turn a profit
in the first quarter of this year.
A money-generating trend that has cropped up in the last year is for ISPs to use DNS redirection services
to replace the old “page not found” error sites with sites full of advertising. This has been controversial in the past because it’s irksome to users who are running apps and tools that require a “clean” connection. But it turns out that the issue may be more than just annoying; recent reports
say that these pages cause vulnerabilities for the web in the form of security holes accessible by hackers.
The problem came to the attention of the media when it was revealed that Earthlink’s
DNS redirection (through a service called Barefruit) had a bug that “may have allowed attackers to launch undetectable phishing attacks against any Internet site”. That bug has now been fixed but the problem remains an area of concern
because so many different ISPs are using similar services.
by KathrynV 11:04AM Thursday Apr 17 2008
By the time that Earthlink realized that its ambitious plans to build out citywide wireless networks weren’t going to happen without a whole lot of money, they already had five standing networks that they needed to deal with. They said at the time that they would be seeking to give those networks back to the city or sell them off. This week they completed the return
of two networks – in Corpus Christi
, TX and Milpitas, CA. They remain in negotiations with Philadelphia, New Orleans and Anaheim to determine the terms of releasing or selling those networks.
When Corpus Christi, TX started setting up its citywide Wi-Fi network several years ago, it gained recognition as a leading innovative city for wireless technologies. However, in 2007 the city made the mistake of selling their municipal network to Earthlink in the hopes that the provider would build out the network so that it could provide Wi-Fi to residents instead of only government employees. story continues..
Earthlink's in a tough spot. They won't be able to share next-gen telco networks, their partnership with Covad goes only as far as that company's ADSL2+ network does, cost cutting is affecting support quality, their Muni-Fi efforts have bottomed out, and their investments in BPL were a waste of money. story continues..
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