Copyright 2002 Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News

Copyright 2002 The Philadelphia Inquirer

Philadelphia Inquirer…02/28/2002

From LexisNexis

Some angry Comcast Corp. cable-modem subscribers say the company's new e-mail service is still not working well, even as the service it replaced, bankrupt Excite@Home, is approaching its final hours.

Excite@Home is due to close for good tonight.

Philadelphia-based Comcast said it was still working out the kinks in its new network, but it contended that it was performing well, for the most part.

Nearly 950,000 people nationally, including about 120,000 in the Philadelphia area and South Jersey, subscribe to Comcast's high-speed Internet service.

Harold R. Berk, a lawyer who works in Center City, said his Comcast e-mail failed Tuesday as he was trying to prepare a multimillion-dollar real estate deal with parties from different states.

Berk objected to statements Comcast president Brian L. Roberts made Tuesday, saying the transition of former Excite@Home subscribers to Comcast's system was going smoothly.

"While Brian Roberts of Comcast was telling you and others what a wonderful job he is doing, his customers were suffering, … " Berk said.

Comcast said about half of its 950,000 cable-modem subscribers, who pay $40 to $45 a month for the high-speed Internet service, have downloaded software to use its new e-mail system. Many use different Internet providers or Web-based e-mail services such as Hotmail or Yahoo as backups or substitutes for Comcast's e-mail.

Comcast said the e-mail delays occurred because the company was tweaking its e-mail computers to run as efficiently as possible.

Dave Watson, executive vice president for sales, marketing and customer service for Comcast Cable, said the problems were not the result of cutting corners.

He said the e-mail system was built to eventually handle much greater volume than it does today. On Tuesday, he said, it processed 2.7 million e-mail messages.