RealTime IT News

Excite@Home's Tries to Keep Flock Near

Excite@Home does not want its customers to stray far from the fold. The leading cable connectivity firm Tuesday upgraded its toolbar and landed a big deal to add Usenet services to its feature mix.

WebUseNet is purchasing multiple OC-12 Internet connections from Excite@Home to one build of the largest Usenet-based companies in the world.

Mark O'Leary, Excite@Home business solutions executive vice president, said the Usenet deal adds to increased content for its customers, and an off-line revenue-generating machine.

"This relationship fortifies Excite@Home's commitment to provide broadband users with the best possible online experience," O'Leary said.

"We are delighted to form this relationship with WebUseNet as it reinforces our intent to create long-term revenue for the company by bringing the companies that distribute content to the Excite@Home nationwide backbone," O'Leary added. "In turn, the content providers are able to support the growing number of broadband users whom are capable of downloading broadband media quickly and efficiently."

WebUseNet officials said it routinely sees an upstream of 1.9 Terabits and a downstream of 160 Gigabits over its servers, sending news group items to more than 12,000 customers and 600 Ineternet service providers.

Dwight Ringdahl, WebUseNet president, said the deal gives them an avenue to distribute newsgroup content that's seen a 500 percent increase in demand over the past year.

"Excite@Home is clearly the broadband leader, and by acquiring direct connections from them, we are able to bring our content to broadband users without having to rely on content distribution through public peering points," Ringdahl said. "Another benefit we enjoy will be access to arguably the largest, high capacity IP backbone in the U.S., giving us the ability to support more customers than we have before.

The OC-12 connections will be installed at WebUseNet headquarters in Atlanta and in a co-location facility in San Jose, CA.

Excite@Home re-launched its Excite Toolbar, allowing customers to access its services wherever they are on the Web. It features a "stocks in page" displaying all the companies on the page and their stock information and a quickview window showing incoming mail.

Bret Comolli, Excite@Home client software vice president and general manager, said the toolbar leverages its content offerings so its available wherever the user is on the Web.

"We are responding to user demand for a product that gives users their favorite and most-used Excite content anywhere on the Web," Comolli said. "With Excite Toolbar we are helping users manage their daily lives and simplify complicated Internet tasks by giving them instant access to their personalized Excite services."

Excite@Home is raising its customer loyalty plan in light of recent developments that may bring new competition to the cable access arena.

AT&T Corp. announced earlier this year that it would share coax connectivity with MindSpring Enterprises, Inc., while Time Warner, Inc. said it would share its cable platform with any ISP.

The first national service provider to sign-up with Time Warner was Juno Online Services, Inc. , announced Monday.