Tuesday, September 11, 2007


WiFiNews has an interview with EarthLink CEO Rolla Huff about muni wi-fi and the rest of the company. Obvious points were made about the "old" muni wi-fi model not working - and the need for a new model which may have to include hardware manufacturers.

Huff touched on dial-up, ELN's shrinking cash cow:

I had heard and see the statistics that the U.S. dial-up market, while declining is also maturing—that it’s likely we’ll hit a stable point at which the people who cannot obtain faster service or aren’t interested in broadband will remain a relatively constant pool. Huff said there is an inflection point. [Ed. Does he mean Tipping Point?]

There is some talk about the synergy of WiMax with Wi-Fi, but really the problem isn't network. The problem is customer acquisition.

A fundamental problem for EarthLink now... is the cost of acquiring new customers. EarthLink’s long-term customers have a good staying power, but customers they spend a lot to acquire also tend to churn faster, making them highly unprofitable. Huff seemed to make the point that EarthLink needs a way to bring on board many customers cheaply, which implies partnerships with firms that have existing customer bases that those firms can inexpensively provide information to.

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