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EarthLink Attains Broadband Service Milestone

Atlanta-based EarthLink Inc. Monday announced it more than doubled its broadband customer base since the beginning of the year.

EarthLink (ELNK) contends attaining its 50,000-broadband customer milestone substantiates its place among the top tier of high-speed Internet services providers.

Mike Lunsford, EarthLink executive vice president of broadband services, said the access provider may have hit its stride in providing broadband access, but it's just the beginning for the national ISP's high-speed service deployment.

"Hitting the 50,000-customer mark is significant because it confirms our status as a major retail broadband provider," Lunsford said. "But this is just the start. New initiatives like self-installs and waived up-front fees should allow us to roll our broadband service even more aggressively."

Internal EarthLink research confirmed that initial setup fees, installation and equipment costs were the biggest barriers to customers seeking high-speed services.

In order to continue aggressively signing-up new Digital Subscriber Line customers, EarthLink decided to waive all up-front DSL setup and equipment fees nationwide. The move saves new customers as much as $350 when they self-install their own DSL equipment.

After testing DSL self-installation kits in Dallas and Los Angeles, EarthLink found it could cut the DSL provisioning cycle in half and accelerate new-customer acquisition. EarthLink reports it attained a 95 percent success rate to date on the self-install kits.

Broadband access seekers are further enticed by EarthLink's regional DSL promotions, which include a three-month-for-the-price-of-one deal being offered in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

EarthLink currently offers DSL service in more than 30 major metropolitan markets and cable in nine areas. It plans to offer DSL services in more than 2,200 Central Offices or 40 markets by the end of the second quarter.