The service will undergo market testing during this year’s third quarter in
Dallas, Minneapolis and Charlotte, N.C. EarthLink anticipates the
broadband Internet service will be made available in major metropolitan
markets by the end of the year.
The agreement makes EarthLink one of the only ISPs to offer nationwide DSL
home access. EarthLink has aggressively pursued developing DSL services
this year, having announced three DSL network deals since April. In
addition to UUNET, EarthLink has existing DSL agreements in place with Sprint and Pacific Bell.
Jon Irwin, EarthLink senior vice president of broadband services, said
building a competitive national DSL network is a daunting task.
“In a world where DSL is considered a regional service, national coverage
is the Holy Grail,” Irwin said. “This agreement will allow us to leverage
this national infrastructure and commitment to DSL to reinforce our
leadership position in the broadband market. It should give us a major leg
up on our competition.”
Group, an independent research firm, estimates that the number of
consumer DSL users will increase from 25,000 subscribers in 1998, to more than 4 million by 2003. With the UUNET deal set, EarthLink is poised to play a major role in national broadband deployment.
Melissa Bane, Yankee Group director of Internet market strategies, said
EarthLink will be well positioned to lead the market for broadband Internet
“A national DSL solution is a distinct advantage in the ISP market, and a
great move for EarthLink. The consumer demand for broadband
services will increase dramatically in the next few years and companies
that make high-speed connections available nationally will be in a great
position to lead the field.”
UUNET, an MCI WorldCom
company, has 1,000 DSL-ready points of presence
throughout the U.S. and plans to raise that to
1,500 by year’s end.
EarthLink will handling all member
support, marketing, sales and Internet service-related functions. Although
pricing has not been set, EarthLink expects to offer the service for $40 to
$60 a month.