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RealTime IT News

Comcast, Cox Spared Excite@Home's Axe

Comcast Cable and Cox Communications late Monday announced they have separately agreed to each pay $160 million to Excite@Home over the next three months to ensure uninterrupted service for its high-speed Internet subscribers.

The agreements come as AT&T Broadband technicians scramble migrate its stranded broadband users in the wake of last Friday's decision by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of California permitting Excite@home to break its contracts with cable carriers. Excite@Home filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September.

The agreements with Comcast and Cox are still pending approval by Bankruptcy Court Judge Thomas E. Carlson. However, they will safeguard their respective customers from confronting the same fate that many AT&T customers are now facing.

"Comcast's first priority is to provide reliable and high quality service to our customers. To that end, we have been working around the clock to make sure our customers receive uninterrupted high-speed Internet service," said Steve Burke, president of Comcast Cable.

Still, although the agreements will be in place on an interim basis, both cable companies are quick to point that work is continuing on transitioning Excite@Home customers onto their own high-speed Internet systems. For example, Cox Communications still plans to transition its customers to the company's own nationwide high-speed Internet network starting in December. The transition is expected to be completed by March 2002.

"This agreement means we have been given time to transition our customers in an orderly fashion, without any prolonged service outages or e-mail disruptions," said Pat Esser, Executive Vice President of Operations.