EarthLink Gains on Comcast Test Alliance

EarthLink (Nasdaq: ELNK) picked up 13 U.S. cents to $12.19 in morning trading Tuesday, after the Internet serviceprovider said Comcast Communications (Nasdaq: CMCSA) will try offering thecompany’s broadband services over one of its cable systems.

EarthLink said its high-speed broadband Internet services will be offered ona trial basis in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, area in the second quarterof this year. The companies expect to sign a definitive agreement if allgoes well.

Comcast customers in the Philadelphia area will be offered the option ofusing EarthLink broadband Internet services, making EarthLink only thesecond non-affiliated company to test high-speed Internet access overComcast cable systems.

Comcast also has plans in the works to test serviceswith Juno Online Services (Nasdaq: JWEB).

“We are interested in learning more about which value-added relationshipswith ISPs will be most attractive to our customers,” said Steve Burke, president of Comcast’s cable division. “Based on what we learn from this and othertrials, we are eager to move ahead with plans to offer our high-speedInternet customers a choice, which ultimately can benefit our business and that of our ISP partners.”

Comcast, based in Philadelphia, operates the third-largest cable company inthe United States.

Atlanta, Georgia-based EarthLink says it has more than 215,000 broadbandcustomers. The company’s high-speed Internet service is available in morethan 70 major metropolitan areas.

Company shares, however, have lost abouthalf their value over the past year as the market for technology stocks hasdeclined.

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