EarthLink to offer 'enhanced dial-up'

Mr. FoRK fork_list@hotmail.com
Wed, 26 Mar 2003 16:54:12 -0800


 - $7/month more than standard
 - 4.2 million dial-up customers and 779,000 broadband
 - EarthLink Plus uses a proprietary "Web Accelerator" from Propel Software
 - some ISPs are uninterested in creating a stop-over on the road to full
broadband
 - 27 percent of all U.S. Internet homes presently use broadband
 - 70 percent by 2008 -- 64 million subscribers or 59 percent of U.S. homes.

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http://boston.internet.com/news/article.php/2170601

Internet service provider EarthLink (Quote, Company Info) has launched a new
service to lure subscribers who want faster connections but aren't willing
to pay for broadband.

EarthLink Plus improves download speeds up to five times over standard
dial-up, the Atlanta-based company said. It costs $28.95 per month, $7 more
than standard dial-up, comes with a guarantee that help calls will be
answered within five minutes.

By comparison, EarthLink's Cable Internet, a broadband service powered by
ComCast, starts at $45.95 per month, plus a $3 per month modem lease fee.

EarthLink has 4.2 million dial-up customers and 779,000 broadband
subscribers. Spokesman Jerry Grasso said the company isn't worried about
slowing upgrades to the faster, higher-priced service.

"The customer who is an EarthLink Plus candidate will not be looking to
broadband," Grasso told internetnews.com. "It may be cost prohibitive for
them, or they may live in an area that (broadband) service is not
available."

EarthLink Plus uses a proprietary "Web Accelerator" from Propel Software
which reduces the size of Web pages and elements sent to users' browsers.
While EarthLink is its largest partner, Propel, of San Jose, Calif., has
pacts with a dozen ISPs.

Discount dial-up giant United Online (Quote, Company Info), which sells to
consumers through its Juno and NetZero services, is testing is own enhanced
dial-up access product.

The Westlake Village, Calif., company's offerings, Juno SpeedBand and
NetZero HiSpeed, will reportedly use caching and compression to cut download
times. According to The Wall Street Journal, United Online is charging
product testers $9.95 for the first month and $14.95 per month thereafter.

But some ISPs are uninterested in creating a stop-over on the road to full
broadband adoption. America Online spokesman Jim Whitney said the company's
focus "is on building awareness around our new broadband offering."

AOL is moving to make the most of the growth in broadband among U.S.
consumers, and looking for ways to keep its huge base of 35 million dial-up
subscribers with the AOL service in some fashion when and if they upgrade to
high-speed providers.

Research firm Strategy Analytics estimates that 27 percent of all U.S.
Internet homes presently use broadband connections, with expectations of
more than 70 percent by 2008 -- that's approximately 64 million subscribers
or 59 percent of all U.S. homes.

Already, erosion of AOL's dial-up base is showing. During the fourth quarter
it lost 176,000 narrowband subscribers.