Tuesday, July 25, 2006

EarthLink Making Big Moves

CNN Money discusses the Apple envy at ELN as EarthLink opens its second store. ELN is selling VoIP and DSL (Selling Helio there too, guys?!) at these temporary outlets in San Fran and Seattle. ELN is offering its VoIP service through OfficeMax, too. BIG NEWS: ELN officially launched 10 square miles in Anaheim, Calif. on June 29. ELN expects to complete the whole 49 square miles in 4Q06. (Press release info here, including pricing) "In Anaheim, Calif. Earthlink has attached little white boxes to 1,500 traffic lights.....Earthlink has spent $5 million building the Anaheim network and expects that it can earn a decent return on that cash once 15-20% of Anaheim's 100,000 homes sign up. The monthly $22 buys a customer access at 1Mbps. That's not as fast as cable or DSL, but it's cheaper and, unlike most Internet connections, is accessible from a car or a park bench as well as home. CEO Betty dreams of creating new wireless markets that don't exist: tracking cop cars and fire trucks; reading electricity, parking and gas meters; monitoring inventory and breakdowns in soda- and candy-vending machines. He figures he can make a fine profit charging the likes of Coca-Cola a few pennies a day per machine. .... Betty's initial capital outlay works out to $50 per home within the territory (i.e., $250 per customer, if he achieves that hoped-for 20% market penetration), and he thinks that price will fall to close to $20 per home passed as volumes ramp up. Within the next two to three years Earthlink's antennas could be upgraded at minimal cost to speeds of 5 to 10 megabits a second, says Donald Berryman, the Earthlink executive in charge of building the networks." (MSNBC Report). In other related news, ELN announced wholesale partners for its muni network: AOL, DirecTV, and its own PeoplePC. WiFi Planet is reporting that that ELN is using Canadian DragonWave as a licensed backhaul vendor for its Muni Wi-Fi ventures:

"Tropos units are connected to the Motorola Canopy system, which brings data from buildings and towers to the street," says Jeb Linton, chief architect for EarthLink Municipal Networks. "Tower tops themselves are like aggregation points for large parts of the city. [DragonWave's equipment] will cover areas from a mile or two, depending on the density of the area and the height of the tower."

Helio, a 50-50 joint venture between EarthLink and Korean company SK Telecom, lost $13M in 2Q06. "For the full year of 2006, EarthLink expects its proportionate share of Helio’s losses to be between $75 million and $85 million. Helio was founded with a pledge of $440 million in combined funding from the two companies," RCR News reports.

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