Comcast opens high-speed doors to United Online

Sun, 03/31/2002 - 7:00pm

Ushering in its own open access strategy, Comcast Corp. inked a non-exclusive deal with United Online Inc. to offer multiple ISPs in the MSO's cable modem markets. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The agreement gives United Online, owner of NetZero and Juno, the ability to offer broadband ISPs services for the first time. United Online also has a relationship with Time Warner Cable, but so far, has not launched in any of the MSO's high-speed markets.

It also marked a first for Comcast, which said the deal was not an attempt to win favor among regulators for its pending acquisition of AT&T Broadband. The company has run trials with EarthLink, as well, but has not signed a definitive deal with the broadband-agnostic ISP.

Initially, Comcast will make United Online's ISPs available in Nashville, Tenn. and Indianapolis, Ind. by the early part of July 2002. Those markets will serve as a "template" for an eventual national rollout to Comcast's high-speed markets, the MSO said.

Comcast is the latest large MSO to begin multiple ISP plans. For example, Time Warner Cable offers EarthLink and AOL in several markets as part of Time Warner Inc.'s merger with America Online Inc. AT&T Broadband, following an early technical trial in Boulder, Colo., inked an "ISP Choice" agreement with EarthLink on March 12. Initially, AT&T Broadband will offer EarthLink in Boston and Seattle, and plans to launch the service in additional cities next year.


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