EarthLink will test its Internet service on Cox Communications Inc.'s broadband cable network in El Dorado, Ark., under an agreement the two announced today.

The six-month trial will start in third-quarter 2001 and leave the option of negotiating a more definitive open-access agreement.

The agreement is Cox's first multiple ISP trial and will help the cable TV company test the technical feasibility of using more than one ISP on its network.

For EarthLink's part, "We see cable as an important component of EarthLink's overall broadband strategy," Executive VP of broadband services Mike Lunsford said in a statement.

EarthLink reports the agreement is its third in six months, following a November 2000 pact with Time Warner and a March 2001 launch of Philadelphia-area trials with Comcast. EarthLink has delivered broadband service with Charter Communications since 1997, it reports.

In other news, EarthLink revenues were up 34 percent to $294.9 million, and it narrowed its EBITDA loss to $18.5 million, according to its first-quarter results, released yesterday.

Net losses, excluding acquisition and merger costs, and an intangible asset writeoff, narrowed 31 percent from last year's first quarter to $35.1 million. Subscriptions were up and the company credits its broadband business growth with fueling its overall growth. The company affirmed and is refining its guidance from January.