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Day 736: No More Feathers

Free Internet service won’t expand in New Orleans  I guess it’s now pointless to ask Earthlink to expand the service into the wet neighborhoods that need the service the most.

A free Internet wireless system in New Orleans likely will not be expanded to devastated areas of the city, following EarthLink Inc.’s decision to quit investing in such services. Late in 2006, EarthLink finished building a wireless system in 20 square miles of New Orleans along the repopulated banks of the Mississippi River. But that is as far as the system will go.

Last week, Rolla P. Huff, the Atlanta-based company’s president and chief executive, called the business model of building free services in attempts to get wireless subscribers “unworkable.” The decision was part of a massive restructuring that affects EarthLink’s networks nationwide and resulted in the company laying off almost half its work force.

The company also told San Francisco last week it won’t build a wireless system in that city, where it planned to offer free Internet service backed by advertising from Google. EarthLink also put a deal with Houston on hold.

Also, the T-P’s Pam Radtke Russell writes how EarthLink woes limit free N.O. Wi-Fi

4 comments… add one
  • M Styborski September 3, 2007, 11:33 AM

    But, C Ray, Meffert, and their cronies still get to keep the kickback money, right?

  • Nola Cleophatra September 3, 2007, 6:50 PM

    Never could get a usable signal, even standing outside like you are supposed to. Bunch of hogwash.

  • Schroeder September 4, 2007, 12:00 AM

    Right. Earthlink sucks! After a little tweaking in the first couple of weeks. I could get a signal outside my house, but not inside. So (geek me), I rigged up a homemade signal enhancer and routed it inside my house. Now, even that doesn’t work. So I should pay for a modem? They did a lousy bit of marketing. They could have tapped into the power of bloggers with free modems to try the service and talk it up. Then they might have gotten over the hurdle of getting enough subscribers. It seems, instead, that there strategy was to try to convert consumers who already had an ISP by merely sending out glossy cardstock advertisements. They needed to prove that the novel concept worked — and failed to even do that. It seems that what they did was to promise free, ubiquitous, basic internet service, then failed to do that, then cut back the coverage even further to force consumers to buy into the subscription service by getting a modem. That’s like selling hybrid cars by saying they’ll work if buy the batteries after you make the purchase and drive off of the lot. A total hack marketing effort. It’s their own fault.

  • Ray September 5, 2007, 8:28 AM

    Maybe if their network “worked”, their business model wouldn’t be so “unworkable”. I could never get connected to the damn thing.

    It was a bad product marketed poorly, all wrapped in the flag of civic altruism. Before Katrina, Earthlink was a crap low-budget service, and we all just temporarily forgot this when they seemed like they wanted to help our city. Now they’re back to being just another crap service.

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