Cox, EarthLink to Conduct Field Trials

EarthLink and Cox Communications Inc. are conducting a technical trial of EarthLink’s Internet services over Cox’s broadband cable network. The six-month trial will allow both companies to test the service with the option of negotiating a definitive open access agreement.

During the trial, scheduled to begin in the third quarter, EarthLink and Cox will work together to develop and roll out Internet service over Cox’s cable network in the company’s El Dorado, Ark., cable system. Both EarthLink and Cox are based in Atlanta.

“We see cable as an important component of EarthLink’s overall broadband strategy, so joining forces with Cox on this trial was an easy decision,” said Mike Lunsford, EarthLink’s executive vice president of broadband services. “This trial demonstrates the willingness of Cox to work with Internet partners to promote consumer choice and foster the development of broadband services. We are excited to be the first unaffiliated ISP to work with Cox and look forward to establishing a long and mutually beneficial relationship.”

The agreement marks the third such deal EarthLink has reached with one of the five largest U.S. cable operators in the last six months. In November, EarthLink reached a definitive agreement with Time Warner, and in March, it agreed to Philadelphia-area trials with Comcast. In addition, EarthLink has been working with Charter Communications to deliver broadband service since 1997.

“We look forward to working with EarthLink as we initiate our first multiple ISP trial,” said Dallas Clement, senior vice president of strategy and development for Cox Communications. “We are eager to explore the technical feasibility of offering more than one ISP on our network in anticipation of forming a relationship that allows both of us to realize the significant business opportunities that exist in the high speed Internet access market.”

With more than 288,000 broadband subscribers, EarthLink is one of the leading broadband Internet service providers. EarthLink DSL is currently available in more than 70 major metropolitan markets through more than 2,650 central offices. The company also offers its Internet services through cable, satellite, Ricochet and fixed wireless technologies.

Cox Communications, a Fortune 500 company, serves approximately 6.2 million customers nationwide, making it the nation’s fifth largest cable television company. A full-service provider of telecommunications products, Cox offers an array of services, including Cox Cable; local and long distance telephone services under the Cox Digital Telephone brand; high-speed Internet access under the brands [email protected], Road Runner and Cox Express; advanced digital video programming services under the Cox Digital Cable brand; and commercial voice and data services via Cox Business Services.

Cox is an investor in telecommunications companies including Sprint PCS and [email protected], as well as programming networks including Discovery Channel, The Learning Channel, Outdoor Life and Speedvision.

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