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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 on Saturday September 29, 2001 @08:19AM (#2367683)
    I haven't (yet) found an info on Canadian @Home customers (Rogers/Cabletron etc) - Any news on this front?

  • by D0ughB0y (78251) on Saturday September 29, 2001 @08:21AM (#2367687)
    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

  • by ajs (35943) <ajs@a[ ]com ['js.' in gap]> on Saturday September 29, 2001 @08:29AM (#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 ;-)
  • by frleong (241095) on Saturday September 29, 2001 @08:41AM (#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?

  • by UnclePunk (520953) on Saturday September 29, 2001 @08:42AM (#2367732)
    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.
  • Cringely Right Again (Score:5, Interesting)

    by General_Corto (152906) on Saturday September 29, 2001 @08:53AM (#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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 29, 2001 @09:00AM (#2367776)
    as long as it's not Disney or Charter. Many of us have linux in place and running well, replacing the Microsoft dependancy while getting kudos from management and doing thing that are impossible under windows. If we get purchased by one of the Microsoft puppets. (Or the Natzi's at Disney... no facial hair? I will be one that will sue the crap out of the company)

    It's sad that AT&T's president is running around asking "Please buy this... I'll take anything... Please!!! buy this!!!"

    I just wish that the stock-holders of AT&T had some backbone and fired the entire executive branch and replaced them with a group that is interested in making broadband work instead of making a few dollars quickly when things are tight. AT&T broadband is full of the best and brightest Last year we had lots of cash do do the work, this year we recieved 1/5th of that and still preformed the work (Finding no-cost solutions like Linux for example) and next year we expect 0 funding above bare-minimum operating costs... I will still impliment a fax server (linux based)and a document management system (Linux based).. Both of which would have cost $50,000 each if based under windows 2000 (I priced them out with quotes 2 years ago, so those are pretty darn close in actual cost)

    Comcast could be a good thing for Broadband. Anyone know if they are hostile to non MS solutions? AT&T has always been open to it and the Computer and Network Acceptable use polocy specifically states that any free or GNU software is fully allowed to get work done in the company.

    how about charter?
  • Fate of @Home (Score:4, Interesting)

    by psicE (126646) on Saturday September 29, 2001 @09:01AM (#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.
  • by RasputinAXP (12807) on Saturday September 29, 2001 @09:56AM (#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 @10:00AM (#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.
  • by jcostom (14735) on Saturday September 29, 2001 @10:11AM (#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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 29, 2001 @10:23AM (#2367953)
    disclaimer... I work for AT&T broadband.

    Perhaps your experiences are isolated but I will continue to explain.

    Average Hold Time: 600 to 800 seconds. So you are wrong.

    That is a problem w/any network not just AT&T Broadband. Customer Service cannot do anything to stop this problem. It is called NETWORK TRAFFIC. It happens no matter where you are.

    You are wrong again. Billing is listed item by item and any explanations are easy to give. If the bill says you owe $180 you probably do. There are very few mistakes made in that area. You probably got an install package, missed a bill, and god knows what else.

    You go ahead and switch. You are going to find the exact problems + some. Including: 1. your ISP and Telco do not speak together so you are always only getting half the service. 2. Hold times are longer b/c you have to wait for Telco and ISP. 3. Telco blames ISP, ISP blames Telco (run-around) 4. slow speeds. 768/128 sucks compared to the BW from cable. 5. ping responses are always fucking bad.

    That's fine, switch all you like. 50 million homes are connected to AT&T broadband. It is a decent service for the cost. Where the hell else are you going to get the bw that you do from there for that cost?
  • by AsylumWraith (458952) <<wraithage> <at> <gmail.com>> on Saturday September 29, 2001 @10:24AM (#2367959) Homepage
    Well, I have Comcast@Home cable service, and I have had absolutely zero problems using Linux on it. You just have to configure the system to use DHCP (and that's not hard. :))

    In fact, the one time I had to have a technician to the house to fix a hardware problem (the equipment on the pole was *ancient*) he took one look at my machine and asked "Which distro?"

    I'd say that they're pretty friendly to Linux.
  • by MsGeek (162936) on Saturday September 29, 2001 @12:57PM (#2368412) Homepage Journal
    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.

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