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The Almighty Buck

Chapter 11 For Excite@Home 141

Posted by timothy
from the back-to-your-old-tricks-in-chapters-4-5-and-6 dept.
n8twj writes: "According to this story at CNET News, Excite@Home, the leading provider of broadband Internet access, said Friday it will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and sell its high-speed network to AT&T for $307 million in cash." jgbrown adds: "@Home files for Chapter 11, they are going to sell their assets to AT&T unless they get a higher offer. Here is a Yahoo News link." An Anonymous Coward adds a link to a story at cnnfn.com." Just like Loki and Exodus, this doesn't mean that Excite@Home has dropped off the face of the earth -- it does mean that are seeking legal protection from creditors in an attempt to reorganize.
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Chapter 11 For Excite@Home

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    I haven't (yet) found an info on Canadian @Home customers (Rogers/Cabletron etc) - Any news on this front?

    • September 29, 2001

      To: All Rogers @Home high speed Internet customers

      A couple of weeks ago we made a commitment to keep you updated on any
      developments regarding Excite @Home in the U.S.

      Yesterday Excite @Home announced that it has agreed to sell its high-speed
      Internet access assets to AT&T, pending court approval. We are very pleased
      with this announcement as Rogers has worked well with AT&T in the past and
      continues to do so. As you may know, AT&T is one of the largest
      communications companies in the world.

      At the same time, Excite filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 of
      the United States Bankruptcy Code. This action allows Excite to remain in
      control of its business and provides it with protection from creditors
      pending completion of the sale.

      Please be assured that our commitment to you remains to provide you with
      the best high speed Internet service.

      We will continue to update you on a regular basis so that you remain
      informed.

      Alek Krstajic
      Senior Vice President and General Manager
      Rogers @Home

    • Well.. (Score:3, Informative)

      by mindstrm (20013)
      I got a letter from Shaw@home (Calgary, Alberta).

      @home doesn't own the cable network; they own the servers, chiefly the email infrastructure and web space.
      So shaw.ca has it's own mail servers.. and is encouraging users to switch over voluntarily (before they all get their mail cut off when @home goes down the toilet).
      Internet service won't go out. You'll still continue the same way as ever.

      • Shaw and Rogers are in completely different boats. While Rogers still buys major services from @Home vital to it's infrastructure (like provisioning, the act of allowing a cable modem to lock onto the network), Shaw buys nothing from @Home other than the remaining legacy email accouts. Shaw has succeeding in completely replacing all of the services @Home once provided. Soon I beleive they will remove the '@Home' portion of the 'Shaw@Home' trademark.
    • It's not going to affect Shaw customers. Shaw has been spending at least the last six months lessening their dependence on the @Home consortium, including among other things, building their own broadband network.

      This fall should see the removal of dependence on @Home email addresses also.
  • by Tolomak (173813) on Saturday September 29, 2001 @09:21AM (#2367685)
    September 29, 2001

    To: All Rogers @Home high speed Internet customers

    A couple of weeks ago we made a commitment to keep you updated on any
    developments regarding Excite @Home in the U.S.

    Yesterday Excite @Home announced that it has agreed to sell its high-speed
    Internet access assets to AT&T, pending court approval. We are very pleased
    with this announcement as Rogers has worked well with AT&T in the past and
    continues to do so. As you may know, AT&T is one of the largest
    communications companies in the world.

    At the same time, Excite filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 of
    the United States Bankruptcy Code. This action allows Excite to remain in
    control of its business and provides it with protection from creditors
    pending completion of the sale.

    Please be assured that our commitment to you remains to provide you with
    the best high speed Internet service.

    We will continue to update you on a regular basis so that you remain
    informed.

    Alek Krstajic
    Senior Vice President and General Manager
    Rogers @Home
    • Interesting. I went to my mail client looking for something similar from AT&T... nothing. We moved over to @Home from MediaOne Express just last month. TCI had swapped our market with MediaOne just prior to AT&T buying them both, they left us pretty much alone for over a year (as MediaOne Express)

      I guess (I hope) that not much would change for us if AT&T really does just siphon off @Home's infrastructure assets. I wonder if other cable operator's @Home customers will have it as easy?
      • by dieman (4814)
        Your just using @home for 'content' Your provider is AT&T Broadband.

        AT&T never did the stupid 'let someone else run your network' trick, they knew it was a sham.
        • AT & T has the money and infrastructure capabilitird to avoid someone else running their network. For most other startups, the investment in the wiring, etc. needed is too great.

          Believe me, if @Home could run their own network, they would have.
        • I didn't think that was the case. @home provides the mail personal web servers too. I always thought of @home as the ISP and AT&T Broadband as the transport provider (like phone company).
        • TCI/AT&T Broadband has been buying backbone access from @Home since 1997. AT&T only 'runs' the cable plant. Everything else until you get to a peering point is @Home-managed. Don't believe me? Traceroute to something. See all the "[blah].[blah].home.net"? That's @Home.
      • First, AFAIK we actually moved over from AT&T RoadRunner, before which we had been MediaOne RoadRunner, before which we had been MediaOne Express, before which we had been Continental Cablevision Highway1 (or something like that).

        Second, what do you mean TCI had swapped our market with MediaOne? I never remember having TCI for a cable provider, and I've had cable (Internet) since Continental Cablevision merged with US West the cable company.
        • I'm in a Chicago suburb, and my service did start out as Continental. Right after I moved in, MediaOne bought this market.

          >what do you mean TCI had swapped our market

          Just that. TCI and Media One made a deal where they ended up trading [google.com] some markets. Shortly after, TCI was bought by AT&T.

          >I never remember having TCI for a cable provider,

          Well, your experience proably vastly differs depending on what city you live in as this deal did not affect every market. But, as a matter of fact, we were never officially switched to TCI. It all happened in such rapid succession that we became AT&T Broadband customers directly from MediaOne without ever seeing TCI.

  • Rogers has been pretty quiet about this. Of course, with their relationship with AT&T it may work out well for them.

    But wasn't AT&T selling off the broadband arm? Does this add to that seperate entity, or would this put AT&T back in the broadband game?
  • by ajs (35943) <ajs@@@ajs...com> on Saturday September 29, 2001 @09:29AM (#2367707) Homepage Journal
    It's kind of scary that The President's Analyst [imdb.com] is going to become timely again (BTW: If you haven't seen this movie, you should, it's got a very sneaky wit).

    AT&T is thinking about selling it's broadband access to AOL, and this deal is likely just intended to sweeten the pot. Imagine, AOL as the one true broadband provider/movie studio/tv news outlet/browser company/music label? Yep, time to start a dialup ISP in MY area ;-)
    • AT&T is thinking about selling it's broadband access to AOL, and this deal is likely just intended to sweeten the pot. Imagine, AOL as the one true broadband provider/movie studio/tv news outlet/browser company/music label? Yep, time to start a dialup ISP in MY area ;-)

      Given all of the Sci-Fi movies where robots and computers take over the world (Terminator, Matrix, etc...) maybe having Microsoft as an OS Monopoly and AOL as the sole connectivity provider would be a really good way to keep the Robots in check.

      Them: "ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO..." [Network lag][BSOD]

      Us: Quick, someone shut that thing off, it's annoying me.
    • If everything becomes AOL, who will you buy your access from?
      • Friends don't help friends install MS junk

        MS Junk? Cool, I have to get it. I've been using lots of other junk, but if MS is entering the field, clearly I should dump the other junk and wait for an announcement of a beta for this new junk!

        ;-)
  • Oh thank Go (Score:4, Insightful)

    by satanami69 (209636) on Saturday September 29, 2001 @09:31AM (#2367710) Homepage
    Thank you sweet lord. I saw AOL was eyeing the @home network. I sooo would rather have At&T thatn AOL. They don't even have an SMTP server for their users. Thank you Jesus.
    • Re:Oh thank Go (Score:2, Informative)

      by Katan (104699)
      I wouldn't rest easy just yet. I would assume that these resources would now become part of AT&T broadband. AT&T Broadband has been on the block for months now with AOL and Comcast(and others) as suitors.


      Scary to think this, but it could still end up in the hands of AOL Time Warner through its acqusition of the rest of its cable customers.


      Its actually more likely that comcast would be more successful as AOL is under heavy scrutiny for the moment. Not that AOL couldn't do it...the new regime at the FCC is more open to industry consolidation.

    • I hate AOL for the same reason, and was concerned when they bought Time Warner, since I have Roadrunner. So far, though, they haven't done anything to AOLize the service, so I can't really complain about them.
  • by frleong (241095) on Saturday September 29, 2001 @09:41AM (#2367730)

    AT&T, the company that U.S. government broke into pieces due to antitrust, is gaining back gradually its monopoly position. Looking at the telecom market in the U.S., the breakup was not particularly effective and comparing to the mobile cellular phone technology of NTT's DoCoMo or of Europe, the U.S. technology in this area sucks.

    The Internet phenomenon that was led by the U.S. was due to the invention of HTTP and web browser and the router and backbone explosion was simply a knee-jerk reaction to the growth of WWW -proving that the telecom market has not been very healthly.

    This brings us the question: what is the best remedy for MS if breakup might not be successful?

    • just b/c they control a good portion of the Excite@Home network (many markets were bought out by AT&T @Home) does not necessarily mean they have a monopoly, it just looks that way ;)

      At least their service is decent (from what I can tell). They are fair w/what they give, and they are fair in giving support.

      I am sort of upset about them selling it off, I was about to buy Excite@Home stock (since it was like .11/share) ehhe.
    • AT&T, the company that U.S. government broke into pieces due to antitrust, is gaining back gradually its monopoly position. Looking at the telecom market in the U.S., the breakup was not particularly effective and comparing to the mobile cellular phone technology of NTT's DoCoMo or of Europe, the U.S. technology in this area sucks.

      The problem, as I see it, isn't that the breakup was ineffective, but that later Congresses decided to render it ineffective. They decided to make the market less competitive (or at least to allow for noncompetitive behavior) at a time when more competitive action was actually needed. Nominally, the system was opened up a bit. But as we've seen with the demise of so many dsl providers (for instance), it wasn't really very open. These crazy mergers are making it less open.

      I think a MS breakup would be a good thing. I'm not sure that there' a solid legal case for it; in fact, I think the legal case is probably quite bogus. But I think that from a consumer's point of view it would be a good thing. If that doesn't happen, the next best thing would be to require that all file formats be nonproprietary and publicly odcumented. That goes for everyone, not just MS. In fact, that would probably be even more beneficial to consumers than a breakup, since it would force actual competitive behavior.

    • by sphealey (2855)
      "AT&T, the company that U.S. government broke into pieces due to antitrust, is gaining back gradually its monopoly position"

      If the old AT&T monopoly exists in any form today, it is in the shape of Southwestern Bell (SBC). AT&T proper bears no resemblence to its 1970 shape.

      With that in mind, AT&T actually had the best strategy of any of the data communication companies: build a full portfolio of services (voice, data, cable, mobile), with as much global component as the hyper-nationalism over telecomm allows (can you say DT?), and offer it to home and business customers in a bundle.

      But as soon as the stock price dropped a bit, Armstrong panic'd and started selling pieces. Now there is no player on the field who even comes close to being able to offer that bundle.

      sPh
  • Do you think that AT&T would continue to block incoming ports to prevent people from running personal servers on standard ports (80, 21, 25, etc)? Thankfully I have Time Warner Cable so nothing is blocked, though I feel that may change at any time in the form of a "change of end user agreement" form someday. It's probably wishful thinking, but just curious nonetheless.
    • Why would the demise of @Home (essentially only the content aspect of the service) have anything to do with ATT's port filtering? Anyway, the port filtering is done subnet-by-subnet. I definitely have ports 21,22,25,80, and 110 available incoming, so YMMV as it has previously.
    • Yes, of course they will. Their TOS is even worse than the average at home.

      I hate that #### port block!

    • Not all AT&T areas block incoming ports. Also, take a close look at your AT&T agreement (it's separate from the @Home agreement). The one I have does not explicitly exclude servers associated with the service, as the @Home TOS does. The question I have is, if @Home is no longer, then can I run servers on my system based on the AT&T TOS?

      One interesting aspect of all this is that if you live in an area where incoming ports are blocked by AT&T, and your AT&T TOS doesn't explicitly prohibit personal servers, then how can AT&T justify blocking these ports?
      • I had the Mediaone Express service until a moth ago when I switched over to AT&T@Home. Neither service block my use of port 80 for my webserver. I know that AT&T's TOS says that you can't redistribute the service to others, or do anything else disruptive to the service. So, my take is that a small website on your computer is no problem, but running a site like CNN is going to cause trouble.
  • Cringely Right Again (Score:5, Interesting)

    by General_Corto (152906) on Saturday September 29, 2001 @09:53AM (#2367762)
    You people may like to look at Bob's article from August 30 [pbs.org] which quite neatly explains where Excite@Home finds itself.

    Remind me to buy stock in Cringely if he ever IPOs.
    • I don't see how this proves Cringeley was right - he was right that they were headed for bankruptcy, but everyone saw that coming. It doesn't show that his analysis of why they were going bankrupt is correct.

      I think that if you were to go back and look at all of Cringeley's predictions, you'd find that he actually has a pretty poor track record.

  • by compugeek007 (464717) on Saturday September 29, 2001 @10:01AM (#2367778)
    Okay maybe ssomeone here with a higher mental capacity can help me -

    I Have @Home service, But I pay my bill to AT&T @Home. My cable TV is Comcast, but I pay my bill to ATT Cable. When I call for service, A Media One truck pulls up.

    I am beginning to think all of these cable companies are a smokescreen for Microsoft.
    • AT&T Broadband is the cable company here. I understand they also own Media One (so Media One is basically just another name for AT&T). Excite@Home is the ISP - you wouldn't pay them directly, but they provide your e-mail account and 'Net connection.
  • Fate of @Home (Score:4, Interesting)

    by psicE (126646) on Saturday September 29, 2001 @10:01AM (#2367780) Homepage
    Actually, that does mean that Excite@Home dropped off the face of the earth, at least as a company, because they already agreed to sell all their assets; I think the only reason they filed Chapter 11 instead of 7 is so people wouldn't lose service while the assets were being transitioned. More interesting, though, is what will happen to the assets. Obviously @Home's network will be merged with AT&T Broadband, but what will happen to Excite? AT&T has three real options:
    • Sell it off. Yahoo!, MSN or AOL could buy Excite to gain customers, Viacom or Disney could buy it to gain a (better) web presence, but chances are no one would pay enough to make it worth the effort for AT&T.
    • Turn it into an AT&T Broadband-only network. Essentially, AT&T could take the current http://home.excite.com/ page, turn that into http://www.attathome.com/, merge the user databases, and ditch the rest of Excite (so you'd have to be a paying customer to use it). This is probably more likely, but if AT&T's planning on selling off Broadband anyway, it may only take time away from negotiations with another cable company.
    • Don't do anything yet. AT&T would pretty much make an Excite@Home group inside AT&T Broadband, and not merge the services at all, instead spending effort on negotiations with Comcast. Then, once Comcast and AT&T Broadband merge, it's Comcast's problem.
    I think that AT&T will try for about a month to sell Excite, and if they're unsuccessful, they'll just wait until the merger.
    • Excite is basically gone. A hell of a lot of the staff that worked on the portal (and all the staff that worked on stuff like clubs, message boards etc) have got the axe I dont think theres a heck of a lot to sell.
  • by dj28 (212815)
    I thought that Comcast was buying ATT's cable assets. Does this mean that Comcast will eventually own what ATT is buying right now?
    • comcast has been attmpting to buy att's east coast cable assets for a few years .. *LAST* i heard it was on the table again .. [brief sojern into the kitchen to get the phone .. amazingly enough .. it was comcast wanting to sell me cable tv - i dont own a tv .. it was a short conversation]

      The last skuttlebut i heard was that att no longer wanted to sell their assets .. There was a deal on the table .. but att backed out. [its been like this for years - the cant make up their mind if they want to keep cable or go pure dsl.] Comcast did sell their telephony services to ATT i believe which was part of the initial deal .. so maybe its on again. [for those that didn't know .. comcast provides telephone over cable services in NJ and i believe PA ]

      comcast is *btw* the #2 cable company .. following Ted Turner, and last i knew .. the only division of @home to have begun to make a profit on its internet service.

      [*sigh* im sure glad i left that place a year or so ago .. i bet its a madhouse right now.]
  • That they'll be leaving their customers high and dry? Or will AT&T keep the @Home network (such as it is) running during the transition?

  • (replace AT&T with Adelphia if they happen to be the one gobbling up your local cable provider)

    We are AT&T, we will add your technological destictiveness to our own, while purchasing your pipes and customer base at pennys of the initial cost. Lower your shields, resistance is futile.

    If there is any cable providers besides AT&T, AOL, and Adelphia in 2 years I'll be amazed.
    • I wouldn't, seeing as AT&T itself is going to be gobbled up by [Comcast | AOLTW | Charter | Cox | Disney] by Q3 2001, and the top 5 cable providers right now are AT&T, Time Warner Cable, Comcast, Charter, Cox, in that order. Notice the lack of Adelphia from that list (although they could be #6).
  • by Torke (101454) on Saturday September 29, 2001 @10:40AM (#2367859)
    A MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT OF SHAW COMMUNICATIONS INC.

    Dear Shaw@Home customers:

    Shaw is committed to providing its customers with the most reliable and secure high-speed Internet service available. Three years ago, we partnered with the @Home Corporation out of Redwood City, California to provide our customers with a full multimedia high-speed Internet experience. Since then, we have recognized that in order to maintain our highest quality standard, we require full control of our network.

    Shaw has invested over $330 million into our high-speed cable Internet network. Over the last year, customers have been enjoying many services such as domain hosting, high performance network, secure connections, broadband content, and 24 hour customer service all on our own Internet infrastructure. Now, with the recent launch of our new Internet Data Centre, Shaw@Home customers now have a full suite of services, including email and web space available to them; all on Shaw`s very own Internet network.

    Fortunately, our proactive actions came at a time when confidence in the service that the @Home Corporation in the U.S. was providing, was diminishing. But, because of the network construction we have completed, the current financial issues that the @Home Corporation are facing will have no impact to the quality of service we provide our customers. Shaw is confident that, the major shareholders of @Home Corp will maintain all e-mail and web space services without impacting its 3.7 million customers across North America.

    Bottom line, all current customers who have @home.com email addresses and webspace, (managed by @Home Corp. in the U.S.), can currently maintain these existing addresses as well as choose an @shaw.ca. We will be contacting all current Shaw@Home customers, encouraging to transition over to the @shaw.ca email and webspace. To register for your new email and webspace accounts go to http://support.shaw.ca

    Shaw will continue to meet its customers` demand for the Shaw@Home high-speed Internet service. We are committed to providing the fastest, most reliable and easiest-to use service via a content portal to access the best video and audio content available on the web.

    We thank you for your continued support.

    Sincerely,

    Peter Bissonnette
    President, Shaw Communications Inc.
  • I don't know about everyone else, but @Home hasn't exactly been a maven of security for me. Ever since Code Red, the original, I've been bombarded with evil packets that [fortunately] have bounced off my firewall. Even still, I'm convinced it's slowed my connection down.

    AT&T makes a lot of mistakes, but their WorldNet service was pretty solid when I had dialup. My only other concern is the tie-in my cable provider (Comcast) might now have to AT&T. SpongeBob Squarepants over the phone, anyone?

    • I've been bombarded with evil packets that [fortunately] have bounced off my firewall. Even still, I'm convinced it's slowed my connection down.

      If only LaBrea could be ported to run *on* a firewall and protect all unopen ports as opposed to just unused IP addresses. Unless of course you run an http server at home, then that's just the cost of running a web server. Block port 80, and move your server to ssl on 443.

      And SpongeBob is the *man* :) Although Nickelodeon was really screwing up this morning.. breaking into commercials mid-sentence. Once they even broke mid-sentence into the closing credits, only to pick up where it left off after a couple commercials. Must be take our children to work day today.
  • by RasputinAXP (12807) on Saturday September 29, 2001 @10:56AM (#2367887) Homepage Journal
    After all, my DSL is still going strong.

    But I had been planning to switch to Comcast @Home if/when my office begins paying for my connection because supposedly we'll be getting the 2Mbit business connection. At this rate, Comcast will own everything cable-based with the exception of Time-Warner and Cablevision (and other West-coast based cable companies I may not know about).

    Guess I might just ask to have my ADSL kicked up to business SDSL...

  • by AtariDatacenter (31657) on Saturday September 29, 2001 @11:00AM (#2367896)
    Having been inside a few companies (and healthy ones, at that) while a transition has taken place (merger, buyout), I'm a little scared to be an @Home customer right now.

    One of the first things to go is the quality of service to the customer. Technical foul-ups as things are transitioned, either technically, or between different groups of people.

    I have to say that @Home really didn't add much to my Internet experience that, say, Roadrunner, or Media One would have provided. (The Excite merger really didn't see any major benefits for @Home customers.)

    While I'm not worried that I'll be completely shut off, I am worried about the quality of service going forward. It is a legitimate concern. But I don't (yet) have enough motiviation to switch to some other form (DSL, etc) of high speed communications.

    Here's hoping that @Home/ATT/Whoever doesn't drop the ball.
    • Did a google search:

      Searched pages from slashdot.org for scary OR scared OR frightening . Results 1 - 10 of about 4,150. Search took 0.07 seconds

      That's 4,150 stories, with scared, scary, or frightening occuring multiple times in multiple posts on the same page.

      What a bunch of fucking cowards, grow a backbone already.

      Guess what, if life scares you that much, go back to bed. There's worse to come, and if CD copy protection or a broadband company filing for chapter 11 is so terrifying, I shudder to think of how much of your monthly budget is going to be spent on Depends diapers as you grow up and get a bigger taste of the 'real world'.
  • by jcostom (14735) on Saturday September 29, 2001 @11:11AM (#2367918) Homepage
    So many people are up in arms about the possibility of all of this resulting in AOL@Home. I, for one, don't think it's such a terrible thing. AOL-TW has lots of cash, and is a reasonably stable company.

    All AOL application/users jokes aside (and believe me, I find the current AOL consumer offer loathesome!), it may not be so bad. AOL has some incredibly smart people running a pretty impressive network. A financially stable company running a solid network? Sounds pretty good to me, even if it is Steve Case running the show. As long as I don't have to use that AWFUL AOL client, and change the way I use my Internet connection, I'll probably not mind.

    Hey - look at it this way - the tech support personnel can't get any worse! Ever talk to an @home tech that's less than 3rd level? Wouldn't know a subnet mask from ldap server.

    • yeah I asked my tech, hey whats this BA # on my workorder.. they both thought for a while then one said:

      Braodcast adress..

      I said, hey oh yeah right dumb me. Forgot.

      And they said: Which is weird cos I dont know what they are broadcasting.

      The other guy said.. Oh yeah, they are in the TV buisiness, that must be what.

      the guy who did not know what they were broadcasting told me he was working on his CCNA.

  • by dbolger (161340) on Saturday September 29, 2001 @11:23AM (#2367952) Homepage
    ...it will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and sell its high-speed network to AT&T for $307 million in cash...
    ...preferably in non-sequential unmarked bills.
  • Does anyone have any thoughts as to whether this will halt @Home's expansion? I am moving from an area that has cable modem service to one that doesn't, and the only DSL I can get is 144 kbps for $99 a month.... I know it's silly to want to buy service from a company in such trouble, but I'd rather shove a hot poker in my eye than go back to dialup...
  • by rant-mode-on (512772) on Saturday September 29, 2001 @11:45AM (#2368031) Homepage
    AOL, ATT and Comcast were falling over themselves today in attempts to buy the ailing @home. However, it is believed that talks have fallen through. Evidence of this was leaked by a disgruntled employee who had a copy the 'training tape' made when Comcast called:

    @home: "Hello, can I have your at home account name please?"

    comcast: "Er, actually I work for Comcast and I would like to buy your company, and I need to speak to your CEO about a deal"

    @home: "Oh, can I have your primary email address then please?"

    comcast: "No, you don't understand, I called earlier and left a message for your CEO to call me back."

    @home: "Ok, I see the problem then. Could you unplug your cable modem for 30 seconds please?"

    comcast: "What? No, I need to speak..."

    @home: "I'm sorry that won't be possible, nobody here has telephones. You need to unplug your cable modem."

    @comcast: "You don't understand, if I don't speak to your CEO, you could lose your job."

    @home: "I'm sorry, my SEE-EE-OH doesn't have a telephone. Could you reboot your PC now please?"

    @comcast: "Oh for heavens sake, you'll be the first against the wall"

    @home: "Oh there's a problem with your wall, we'll send a technician round then. Thank you for calling @home."

    Later on, the disgruntled employee complained about @home's recruitment policy. "At the interview, they said all I needed to be able to do was to pick up the phone and to speak English. Technical ability was never a requirement. They never did trust me - I was never allowed to see the secret document that showed how to transfer calls to people that fix problems. What is a cable modem anyway?"
    • The REALLY sad thing is that is ENTIRELY true. I just got Comcast@home and I was getting crappy speeds, so I called up. Took me about 1/2 an hour to get in, and then another 20 mins for the techs to realize I had a firewall... Then they claim its the firewall that's making the problems, and a "courrupted registry entry." Haven't tested my upload in Linux, but I get much faster down in Linux than doze.
  • I see no mention of this on Excite's home page and they have a news service. Take a look nothing there!

    I get all my news from one source :)
  • by schwatoo (521485) on Saturday September 29, 2001 @12:11PM (#2368109)
    On every new Mac (and every time you install a fresh OS upto and included 10.1) the Web Browser's default home page is http://apple.excite.com/ will this mean there'll be a lot of machines with a lot of broken home pages in a month or so?
  • AT&T WorldNet was the dialup ISP I left when I got my Comcast@Home service. Cable or not, I was about to leave them anyway.

    AT&T WorldNet, who offered me "unlimited" internet access for ~ $20 per month, and then complained that their network was overtaxed when I used it as per our agreement. A couple months before I finally went to cable, they switched from ~$20/month for unlimited, to ~$20/month for x hours, and then ridiculous additional charges for going over x. Fuck AT&T.

    They ought to change their advertisting slogan to "AT&T. We have altered the deal. Pray we do not alter if further."
  • ..that @home didn't gobble up our local broadband ISP, planetcable when the cable company switched over to comcast.

    The service isn't always the most stable (more crappy line to my house related than anything, I think), but I like the way they run the business, allowing me to do as I please with the bandwidth they provide. Having your own mail server and web server to do anything you want with is wonderful.
  • if Andover.net bought @home's pipes and servers.

    That way when MS/MPAA/RIAA come calling there will be a corporation with backbone/cajones and actually *protect* its users and *uphold* its/our right...be worth billions. Oh, and as far as a legal team get the FSF (defenders of 2600 et al?) and lobby, lobby, lobby for *intelligent* laws.

    Moose.

    "We are talking about the nonsensical ravings of a lunatic mind."
    • > Oh, and as far as a legal team get the FSF (defenders of 2600 et al?) and lobby, lobby, lobby for *intelligent* laws.

      Too late. You lobby *BEFORE* laws are passed, not after. You kill them in sub-committee. Failing that you kill them in committee. Failing that you amend the hell out of them in the full assembly. Failing that you amend them the best you can in conference. After that, it's too expensive and too futile to be worthwhile in most cases.

      You snooze, you lose.
  • I live in the east San Fernando Valley, and now I really don't have any decent options for broadband.

    1.) Verizon is my ILEC out here. Verizon gave me only 384/128 dialup over a 768/128 "Bronze" ADSL connection when I had Flashcom service. Flashcom would point fingers at Verizon, Verizon would point fingers at Flashcom. Nothing got resolved. Eventually I quit in disgust.

    2.) Adelphia@Home is the cable modem option out here. They actually had a hella deal for a while...free for 3 months, 1/2 price for 6 months, then 25% off for the next 3 months. However, I never got a straight answer about the infrastructure they are using in my neighborhood. Is it DOCSIS or is it old-school cable modem? What's the policy on adding nodes? The sales droids lied to me all the way down the line as far as what they were giving me. "DOCSIS? Sure! It's top-of-the-line infrastructure out your way!" Then when the cable guy came over to install it, I asked him what was going on. "Oh, this isn't DOCSIS. You're getting the old style setup...we won't be using DOCSIS in this neighborhood for at least six months." I told him thank you, no, and that's where that stands.

    And what about other options? Satellite? Too expensive, Windows 95/98 only, latency is sucky. Ad-hoc 802.11b networks? Not enough geeks live here, security stinks on ice, Internet access questionable.

    So here I sit with v90 dialup for the forseeable future. I don't live in some podunk town where you can throw a rock from end to end. I live in the Greater Los Angeles area. Thanks, ILECs, for killing all the DSL CLECs. Thank you, Los Angeles City Council, for not allowing competition for cable access. Thank you, assholes...I have to suck the Internet through a straw while other friends of mine have a big pipe. Fsck y'all.

    • So you decided "Hey, I could get a cable modem, but I don't get to pick the purdy blue one, so fuck y'all"?

      You had the ability to get cable. You just had to use their modem for awhile. Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't see an issue.
      • I started my experience with cable Internet when MediaOne offered the RoadRunner label. They brought out a General Instruments cable modem that looked like a 'leenear' for See Bee radio, good buddy, a big, heavy metal box with huge heat sink fins all over it. It worked about 60-70% of the time. I bitched and moaned, pretty much knowing that there was little they could do about it as the problems persisted.

        Then, on their own, they magically upgrade the whole neighborhood to DOCSIS equipment and they swapped out the G.I. hunk-o-junk with a little, plastic Toshiba modem that looked like a traditional modem. Never once had a glitch after that.

        Don't know if it was poor implementation and maintenance of the original junk or that General Instruments simply lost their minds when they built their version of the junk, but it was a night and day difference between old and DOCSIS in my experience of 1 year.

        Then, due to changes in my personal and business life I moved away from there, but I sure do miss that Internet access. Now I'm stuck with Telocity's (oh, I mean DirectTV's) sometimes-always-on Net service. It works great until I try to use it, then the connection stalls and I have to unplug the phone line and plug it back in to reset it. All the time. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!
        • I started MY experience with cable modem internet access over 5 years ago, in Las Vegas with a properietary Com21 ComPort modem. Not a problem.

          Each market is different. Sounds to me, though, like it was poor implementation of the GI equipment (keep in mind GI also makes the majority of your cable boxes, and the GI/Motorola Surfboard series of cable modems).
      • This is hardly an issue of "not getting the purdy blue" cable box.

        Have you ever seen those "Web hog!" commercials that SBC Communications runs?

        DOCSIS partially eliminates the problems of sharing bandwidth over an entire neighborhood by the way it doles out the bandwidth. Old-school cable is not as intelligent and you wind up with the slowdowns. DOCSIS also has security measures in the spec...Old-school cable is notoriously insecure.

        Your sexist comments are upsetting, to say the least. Would you have said the same thing to a guy who was objecting to the lack of modern cable-modem equipment in his neighborhood? Doubtful.

        • Actually, yes I would have made the EXACT SAME comment. Why?

          I wasn't paying attention to your login. I stopped looking at usernames here over 2 years ago, when "Linus Torvalds" posted here more often than Anonymous Coward.

          My comment was more a dig at the average idiot I take calls from, who DO purchase modems based on color. I had a customer throw a fit because we didn't offer any sort of translucent modem to match their iMac.
  • by SurfsUp (11523)
    Remember when Loki filed for Chapter 11? That day they had their best day of online sales ever. Together, we have the financial power to keep Loki alive.

    Don't forget to buy a Loki game [lokigames.com] this month.

  • "this doesn't mean that Excite@Home has dropped off the face of the earth"

    In other words the reason we're appending this disclaimer to the end of 80% of our articles is so you don't dump your $1.05 VALinux stock when the bankruptcy article is about VALinux.

    I'd expect not just the bankruptcy articles but all the conspiracy announcements about colleges taking over the world by suppressing individual freedom and 1000s of new handhelds for displaying calendars to soon end with "Bankruptcy doesn't mean closing of business".

    In fact instead of appending the disclaimer to every article why not just put it in fine print on the bottom of valinux.com and get it overwith.

  • all of these discussions about at&t, aol, comcast, etc... could all be moot. if aol wants to they could possibbly buy up all the lines they want if they just tell the gov that they'll install backdoors into all of their stuff. even more intrusive then what they already have. think how many users aol has now. nad isn't aol also col and bol as well?
  • In Business school we always emphasized how the customer experinece is paramount in driving any endeavour. In the screwed up business model @home has purveyed, they grew too fast and forgot how to serve the customers.

    Here in sunnyvale, my bandwidth is comprable to a 56k modem! Seriously. After I sent them traceroutes to al the DNS servers, all the gateways, and several big sites they still insisted that i unplug my linux box and run their little whack=ass tool...

    Guess what the 3 tabs on that lame app were PING, NSLOOKUP and TRACEROUTE. Un frigging believeable.

    Now did this, so they roll a truck out here and he says he can't see a problem. After 3 weeks of escalation guess what they're up to on this thursday?

    SEnding another truck! That's right after WEEKS of documentation of problems I'm about to get a second guy out here telling me that he can't find something wrong.

    ONly thing worse is Pac Bell.

    In any case, their lack of customer service merely presaged their downfall.
    • oh man oh man oh man oh man.. no freeken doubt.

      My experiences with these @home nimrods makes me think they must be sabotaging themselves for christ sakes.. Its like the keystone cops or car 54 where the hell are you.

      first day of attempted install one guy sits on my floor and looks at my backround picture like he had been smoking 10,000 pounds of somthing before coming in the house. The other guy is putzing around with the cable outlet:

      where's my screwdriver asks one.

      Long pause.

      So are you into dogs or what? (refering to the pic on my desktop)

      this goes on for an hour.. they say finally:

      Aint gonna work, the only way is if they drill a hole in the wall and bring a wire from the moon they tell me.

      I call the org. They say, yeah they are fixing it. 10 days and we will have sig strength.

      15 days later, two new guys come. promise me it will work NO PROBS. 10 hours later, no block sync. Call @home. CODE RED VIRUS has made it not work. My name is on the computer that says, CODE RED VIRUS in the area, tell him it will be a FEW DAYS.

      He tells me to call back.. Better make it 3 or 4 days.

      I call back, she is gonna get the supervisor to find out why it is still a "flashing modem" (we are now at 20 days.)

      She will email me as soon as she knows.. That would be one week. One week gone, she no email me. I call. They say they can send someone out in 2 weeks..

      You get the pic.. sorry for the long drawn out story.

      Turns out the guys the first time did not take off TWO data filters on my pole, and installed a bunk filter in the box in my building. % truck rolls and two months to get it installed.

      ps. I got two bills for 2 months service for the time the modem never worked.

      so why they going out of biz again?
  • Like the beginning of the universe, the tech industry started with a bang. All little pieces, over time, coming together to form major entities.

    So, it has come to this:

    Consumer PC's I think its obvious here. Compaq, Dell, Microsoft. All have gobbled up smaller companies, or have significant stake in them (AHEM, Apple..) and are not facing any serious threat.

    Internet OK, it's pretty clear that AOL is running the show here, but lots of people like their broadband (even if they use it to access AOL). Enter @Home. Great concept, poor implementation. Seems that all of our little @Homes are being gobbled up by large compaines (in this case AT&T). I hate to say it, but we're all becoming slaves to big telecom (Yeah, yeah I know, Troll).

    Government The laws of physics in our tech-universe-explosion. Government says what stays and what goes. Now with the appearance of the SSSCA (sigh), we're leaning toward a AOL-MS planet. ("You've got mail! Enter your 29-digit license key to continue!"). Sickening.

    Linux/OSS The distant relative that moves in with Microsft and overstays its welcome. Finally kicked out of the house when caught stealing money, but has stolen enough to buy its own house.


    Splash some mercury on the table, and watch it all come together. Model of the tech industry.
  • Just so long as it ATT's cable network isn't sold off to AOL.

    Please, god, not AOL; how many virgin sacrifices are required to prevent such a calamity?

    Max
  • The problem @home has is that as sold on technology as this country seems to be...not as many people are signing up for broadband as you might think. Most geeks, hackers, gamers, etc. Feel as if they couldn't survive without broadband access. However my parents on the other hand, and many families I know, simply do not feel the need to have a high speed internet access. Also in the case of my parent's, finding a provider is prohibitive. There are some places in this country where it is very hard to find broadband, and I'm not talking about some backwoods place. I'm from the East Side of Cleveland, and it is extremely difficult to find anyone who offers DSL or Cable modem. Also in some places around Baltimore it is very hard to get connected.
    In short, the problem is two fold, there are a lot of people out there who don't think they need broadband, and there also a lot of people that can't get it. Because of that, a upstart company will have a very hard time supporting itself, simply because they do not have enough revenue to allow them to stay afloat until their venture becomes profitable.

    We're all in this together, keep your stick on the ice.
  • 9/30 2:38PM Pacific
    Dear Cox @Home Customer,

    On Friday, September 28, 2001, Excite @Home announced that it
    filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and plans to sell its
    high-speed network to AT&T. Excite @Home is Cox's partner in
    providing high-speed Internet access service to Cox @Home
    customers.

    We have no reason to believe that these bankruptcy proceedings
    will have a negative effect on your Cox @Home Internet
    connection or email service. Chapter 11 allows Excite @Home to
    continue its operations while restructuring its business. In many
    cases, the restructured business emerges from Chapter 11 stronger
    than before and resumes normal operations either independently or
    as part of a larger company. In this case, AT&T has announced
    that it intends to operate and, after a period of time, take over the
    Excite @Home network and continue uninterrupted service for all
    @Home customers.

    Several months ago, Cox began preparing a strategic plan to
    exercise a greater degree of control over many of the components
    that make up our high-speed Internet service. The current events
    surrounding Excite @Home have accelerated this initiative. The
    recent bankruptcy filing by Excite @Home and the announcement
    by AT&T of its intentions to acquire Excite @Home's network
    assets does not change Cox's plans in any way. In fact, we are
    committed to working with both Excite @Home and AT&T to
    ensure that service remains reliable and consistently of a high
    quality.

    We will continue to keep you apprised of any developments that
    might affect your service. However, we will continue to take all
    steps necessary to continue to provide you with the high level of
    service you have come to expect from Cox Communications.

    Thank you,
    The Cox @Home Team
  • Shaw and Rogers already had their form letters posted, here's what Comcast had to say (if someone else hasn't posted it already...)

    (Take note: Comcast made no mention about whether or not they will take any responsibility for email and webspace content!)

    Dear Comcast @Home Customer,

    On Friday, September 28, Excite@Home, the Internet service provider for Comcast @Home, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to allow themthe opportunity to restructure their financial situation with their creditors. As you may know, financial restructuring allows companies that have declared bankruptcy to continue to operate their business successfully.

    More than five years ago, Comcast committed to the high-speed Internet business by partnering with Excite@Home, and we continue to be committed to providing high quality, reliable service. We are confident that Excite@Home, whose major shareholders include AT&T, Cox and Comcast, will maintain all e-mail and web space services for our customers.

    Comcast will continue providing its customers with the best high-speed Internet service both now and in the future. We are doing everything possible to ensure that the 950,000 customers we will serve by year-end will continue to be served well while Excite@Home restructures its financial situation.

    Comcast views high-speed Internet as one of the most important products in our portfolio and we remain committed to this business and to our customers. We thank you for choosing Comcast and look forward to continuing to provide you with the best high-speed Internet service available.

    Sincerely,

    David Juliano
    Sr. Vice President & General Manager

  • by sensui (137980)
    Anyone who ever drive along 101, passing by Redwood City, around midnight will know why. They are perhaps the brightest buildings in Redwood City. PG&E bills drove them out of business for sure!
  • Dear Valued Customer:

    AT&T remains committed to working with Excite@Home's management and the bankruptcy court to provide uninterrupted high-speed cable Internet service to our customers, as well as continuing relationships with other cable companies to ensure seamless service to their customers on the @Home network.

    If the asset sale is approved, AT&T also plans to build on the assets it acquires to develop a more robust network while improving and growing our broadband high-speed Internet access business for all cable company subscribers.

    Sincerely, AT&T Broadband This sucks - I have no option besides Charter here in the sticks. They are cheaper, but don't promise more than about 2/3 of the bandwidth I enjoy now...

Don't steal; thou'lt never thus compete successfully in business. Cheat. -- Ambrose Bierce

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