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RealTime IT News

EarthLink Tunes in Radio Shack

Looking to quickly and cheaply expand its distribution, EarthLink has signed a deal to sell its dial-up and high-speed Internet service through 5,000 RadioShack stores nationwide.

Neither the duration, nor value, of the deal was disclosed.

It's the latest move by an Internet service provider to team with a retailer. Last week, rival United Online said its no-frills Juno and NetZero brands will be sold at Best Buy outlets.

And others, including AOL , also use in-store displays and promotions to supplement direct sales. The deal is exclusive for dial-up.

EarthLink has been embracing the partner strategy. It already has deals in place with Best Buy, Circuit City, Office Max, Fry's, MicroCenter, Gateway and Office Depot, spokeswoman Alexandra Trask told internetnews.com

The EarthLink/RadioShack pact includes employee training and could be expanded to include wireless Internet services, which are catching on with consumers.

In a statement, Kevin Flaherty, vice president of retail channel sales, said, "With more than 90 percent of the country living or working within five minutes of a RadioShack store, customers almost anywhere can now learn about and sign up for EarthLink's (products)."

In other EarthLink news, the company, looking to land additional small business and home office customers, bolstered its digital subscriber line service.

The high-speed offering has been expanded fropm 16 markets to 81, including Charlotte, San Diego and Salt Lake City. It includes a static Internet-protocol address and four port router and costs about $80 per month. Under a promotion, the company is offering one free month and a rebate for hardware and activation fee.

Besides faster speeds, other features differentiating the offering from standard consumer fare include eight email accounts and 20 hours of dial-up roaming access per month.

The offering is expected to compete with business-DSL offerings from regional phone companies like Verizon , which have also been making a push for small business customers.



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