EarthLink Eyes Broadband, Wireless Growth

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Internet service provider EarthLink is eyeing broadband and wireless as key areas for company growth.


"Web surfers who try to view sites with music and videos without broadband access know how slow the download is," said John Ellis, director of broadband marketing at EarthLink, Atlanta.


He emphasized that entertainment is a major application for broadband.


"Users want entertainment on demand," Ellis said. "These are the users who enjoy keeping a music catalog, cueing up their own radio station and making phone calls over the Net. Broadband improves these applications and many others."


Ellis also said that broadband is becoming a mainstream technology. "It has to work and be affordable for the individual consumer end-user."


Projected broadbans growth in the U.S. aggregate market is estimated to be 60 million by 2001 and almost 70 million by 2003, according to the Yankee Group.


EarthLink has 139,000 broadband customers, 59,000 of whom were added in the company's third quarter, which ended Sept. 30.


On the wireless front, Lance Weatherby, executive vice president of EarthLink Everywhere, said, "We are doing our best to make sure the consumer has the best Internet experience possible no matter where he or she is. We will no longer have a market where a customer is using only one device to access the Net. Down the road, consumers will think of this as the only way to meet their Internet needs. They will not want to be cut off from their e-mail or instant messages.


"We are in the very early stages of this market segment. We will continue to see emerging markets with new technologies for delivery. One of the options down the road may be EarthLink as a wireless ISP."


EarthLink's most recent extension is its acquisition of ISP OneMain.com, Reston, VA, in September.


EarthLink CEO Garry Betty said in a recent conference call that the company acquired 6,000 subscribers via its acquisition of OneMain. He expects the company to end 2000 with a total customer base of 4.7 million to 4.8 million. Betty said that it was too early to foresee projections for 2001.
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