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The Almighty Buck

Excite Could Go Dark On Friday 464

Posted by timothy
from the after-excitement-comes-the-little-death dept.
robvasquez writes: "According to this CNET article, excite @home could be pulling the plug on cable modem subscribers. What's your providers back up plan? Could milions of trolls and Nimda spreaders be taken off line?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Excite Could Go Dark On Friday

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  • Cox (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dAzED1 (33635) on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @09:32PM (#2622555) Homepage Journal
    Cox@home is staying up, they're just going to be dropping the "@home" part.
    • Re:Cox (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      heh heh heh

      you said "Cox"...uhh..."staying up"

      heh heh
    • Re:Cox (Score:4, Interesting)

      by emag (4640) <slashdot@NOSpAM.gurski.org> on Wednesday November 28, 2001 @02:40AM (#2623481) Homepage
      Here's the email I got. Not very full of details, but partially reassuring:


      Date: Mon, 19 Nov 2001 19:52:36 -0500 (EST)
      From: Cox Communications
      To: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX@home.com
      Subject: Important Information Regarding Your Cox @ Home Service

      Dear Cox @ Home customer:

      Recently, you were informed that our high-speed Internet partner - Excite @
      Home - filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection. We recognize that this
      situation may have caused you some concern about the future of your service.
      Rest assured, we are taking all the necessary steps to provide continued reliable
      high-speed Internet service to our customers ? now and in the future.

      We are deeply committed to providing you with a quality high-speed Internet
      service. For several months, we have been hard at work creating a new Cox-
      managed network to better serve you. There are many benefits to directly
      managing our own network, such as:

      * Easier, more streamlined customer service experience.
      * Enhanced network performance.
      * Ability to bring you the latest in cutting-edge technology and product
      features.

      In the weeks ahead, we'll continue to keep you informed and share more details
      of our exciting plans. For more information, please visit www.cox.com/moreinfo .
      (Click here: http://www.cox.com/moreinfo )
      We thank you for being a valued Cox customer.

      Sincerely,
      Cox Communications


      That URL above is what some flonetwork.com gobbledygook redirected too. Funny, I can't connect....
      • I spoke too soon (Score:2, Informative)

        by emag (4640)
        Ok, apparently neither mozilla nor w3m from my machine could connect, but I could using lynx from an alternate location. <sigh>

        Here's the scoop from http://www.cox.com/moreinfo [cox.com]:


        Following you will find some information to address questions you might have about the email communication that you recently received from us.

        Q1. When will you be switching my service?

        A1. Cox is creating its own managed network to enable it to ensure the quality and reliability of your service. This transition will be made before June 2002, however we have not yet finalized specific dates for each community
        we serve. We will continue to keep you informed on our progress and will do everything we can to give you as much advance notice as possible when the time comes to transition to the new Cox high speed Internet service.

        Q2. Do I have to change?
        A2.
        Yes, our partnership with @Home will be ending. Once the Cox-managed network is ready, all customers who currently have the Cox@Home service will be transitioned over to the new Cox-managed network. We think you will be pleased with the new service. By managing all elements of our high speed Internet service, we will be in a much better position to control the quality of our service and deliver greater customer satisfaction. We will make every effort to make this transition as smooth as possible.

        Q3. What do I have to do right now?
        A3. There is nothing for you do right now. At the appropriate time, Cox will provide you with all of the information and tools you need to smoothly convert your service to our new Cox-managed high speed Internet service.

        Q4. How will I be affected?
        A4.
        Since we are in the process of finalizing the service and its features, we don't have specific information to share with you at this time. We assure you that your Cox-managed service will include the most popular features you
        currently enjoy, as well as some additional benefits.

        Q5. Is my new service going to be comparable to my existing service?
        A5.
        It is our goal to provide you with high speed Internet service that is comparable to or better than your existing Cox@Home service. In fact, by offering our own Cox high speed Internet service, we will have a much better abilit
        y to manage our network performance and provide the high-quality customer service and technical support our customers have grown to expect from Cox.

        Q6. Will I get any new features?
        A6.
        In addition to providing you with the features that you currently enjoy with your Cox @Home service, there will also be some new features and benefits associated with the new Cox-managed service. We are currently finalizing the details and we will share this exciting information with you in advance.

        Q7. Is my email address going to change? If so, when?
        A7.
        Since we are still finalizing the details of our Cox-managed high speed Internet service, we don't have any specific information to share with you at this time. You will be notified in advance about any changes to your service, so that you may have time to prepare for this change as necessary. Please know that we understand that an email address change is significant, and we will make every effort to make any service transition as smooth as possible.

        Q8. So will you start offering other ISPs?
        A8.
        We are in the process of testing the technical feasibility of offering multiple ISPs over our broadband network. Once this testing is complete, we will then determine the feasibility of rolling out multiple ISPs on a wider basis.


        It really makes me wonder if they consider the port blocking on 80 and 25 to be a "feature" to "improve" "service". The funny thing is that I know someone else across the street w/ Cox@Home who DOESN'T have those ports blocked. And I wasn't even running a web server, while he is. Go figure.
      • Re:Cox (Score:2, Informative)

        by Raven42rac (448205)
        Well, here is the Email I just got today from Cox:
        Dear Cox @ Home Customer:

        As you know from our previous emails, Excite @ Home, our vendor in delivering
        your Cox @ Home service, filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection at the end
        of September. We have endeavored to keep you informed of the potential impact
        this Bankruptcy could have on your Cox @ Home service and are writing to you
        today to provide the latest information we have available.

        First, we want you to know that we are committed to providing you uninterrupted
        high speed Internet service. Cox Communications has been working diligently in
        negotiations with Excite @ Home and using all legal avenues available to protect
        you, our valued customer. Meanwhile, we have been forging ahead with our
        plans to deliver reliable high speed Internet service to you on our Cox-managed
        network. You will soon be receiving additional information about our new Cox
        High Speed Internet(sm) service, along with information to help you convert to this
        new service.

        The latest developments with Excite @ Home:

        This month, Excite @ Home's creditors petitioned the Bankruptcy court with a
        motion to allow Excite @ Home to terminate service agreements with its cable
        affiliates on November 30th. This includes agreements with Cox, Comcast and
        AT&T. If the Court grants the creditors' request, there conceivably could be a
        temporary disruption in the services that Excite @ Home provides to
        approximately 3.7 million customers served by its North American cable affiliates.
        We are doing everything possible to see that there will not be a disruption in your
        service, but also want you to understand the possibilities and to be prepared:

        *If the Judge's ruling states that Excite @ Home may terminate its service
        agreements with Cox and the other cable affiliates, this does not mean that
        Excite @ Home will automatically turn off the service on November 30th.
        *With the Judge's approval, Excite @ Home would then have the ability to make
        a decision on termination; however, we are negotiating with them to prevent any
        service disruption.
        *If Excite @ Home decides to terminate service despite our efforts to negotiate a
        temporary arrangement, the question remains as to when the service would be
        terminated. We are doing everything we can to ensure that your Cox @ Home
        service continues until we can transition you to our new Cox-managed Internet
        service. In short, we are doing our best to make sure that you will never be
        without high speed Internet service.

        Additional help Cox is providing:

        In addition to exercising legal avenues, negotiating with Excite @ Home, and
        building our own high speed Internet service, Cox is also offering the following to
        help you and to keep you informed during this transitional period:

        * Toll Free Customer Information Line (1-877-832-4751). You can call in for
        the latest updates as we work to quickly resolve any service issues.
        * Website Message Center at www.cox.com/info We will provide online
        updates and a "Frequently Asked Questions" (FAQ) section to address your
        concerns.
        * Automatic Account Credits. We will credit your account automatically for
        service and leased equipment so that you are reimbursed for any time you
        are without service.
        * Free, temporary dial-up Internet access. In the unlikely event that you
        should experience a service disruption, we have arranged for temporary
        dial-up access to the Internet via NetZero(r). In order to take advantage of
        this precautionary option, please see the "What Should I be Doing Right
        Now" section that follows.

        Cox has a long history of outstanding service in your community. We pride
        ourselves on providing high quality products and the best customer service.
        Please know that we are committed to our customers and understand the
        extent to which you enjoy the services we provide. We recognize that you
        have a choice in service providers and we will continue to do our best to
        remain your choice now and in the future. In advance, we apologize for any
        inconvenience that the Bankruptcy of our vendor Excite @ Home may cause
        you.

        Stay tuned for more details, and thank you for choosing Cox.

        Sincerely,

        The Cox High-Speed Internet Team
        Cox Communications, Inc.

        _______________________________

        What Should I be Doing Right Now?
        1. Check your Cox @ Home email daily. Opened messages will be saved
        automatically to your hard drive.
        2. Download free dial-up Internet software. In the unlikely event that Excite
        @ Home terminates your service, you would lose connectivity to the Internet and
        access to your Cox @ Home services such as email and webspace. We do not
        recommend that you install the software at this time, just download the software
        and save it so that it may be installed should you have an interruption in service.
        In order to restore access to the Internet and to set up a temporary email
        address, we recommend that you register for dial-up service via NetZero and
        download the necessary software. You will not be able to download the software
        from your home after your Internet service has already been disrupted. While a
        free dial-up connection is not ideal, it will give you temporary access to the
        Internet for surfing, making transactions, etc. However, you will not be able to
        access your Cox @ Home email accounts while the service is shut down. For
        information on how to download this software, please visit www.cox.com/info
        3. Back up your personal web page to your hard drive or to a CD. (This is a
        good precautionary measure to follow at any time.)
        4. In the unlikely event that there is a disruption in service, keep your cable
        modem connected to your PC until service is restored.
        5. Watch for more information from Cox on the transition of your service to
        Cox High Speed Internet. At such time that you can make the transition to our
        new service, Cox will be providing you with all of the information you need to make
        your transition as smooth as possible.

        It seems to me like they are trying their asses off to keep as many subscribers as possible, which is a good thing.
        • by emag (4640)
          I'd sure feel a lot better if I'd gotten a similar email today. I've really got to call Earthlink and/or PacHell about DSL. And that likely means switching my phone service from Cox to PacHell as well. <sigh>
    • Cox@home is staying up, they're just going to be dropping the "@home" part.
      Here in Las Vegas, they've always been Cox Express (well, that's the name they used after Cox acquired Prime Cable, anyway). There's a newer service they've been pushing lately called Interact that seems aimed at converting the AOLers (256 kbps down, 64 kbps up starting at $22), but I've had good luck with what they now consider commercial-grade service: $50 for 512 kbps down, 128 kbps up, one static IP, and no complaints if I run a webserver [dyndns.org] or mail server [mailto] on it. The only time it's acted squirrelly was when Code Red and Nimda first hit, and those killed everybody. In any case, @Home has never had any involvement with cable-modem service here.
  • Backup plan (Score:2, Informative)

    by RWC09 (473329)
    In Canada - Rogers cable is currently switching to their own servers.
    • In Canada - Rogers cable is currently switching to their own servers.

      You forgot the second half of that statement:

      ...and they are doing a shitty job of it. Their mail servers were totally unprepared for the amount of traffic they got and crashed (I mean come on - did they not know how many customers they have?), they had insufficient customer support (call queues were backed up well over an hour all weekend last weekend).

      Furthermore, why the hell is my LOGIN USERNAME for the pop3 email server have to have the full email address (ie myaddy@rogers.com)? The '@' symbol in the login name broke 90% of the email clients out there including older versions of Eudora and ALL versions of Netscape

      Call them for support. Wait an hour or two. Oh - they don't support Eudora. They don't support Netscape. What DO they support? Outlook Express. Only. That's it. On Windows. Only. Nevermind that when I got the service originally, Netscape was the browser that their own CD installed on my machine. Not IE.

      Sorry for the rant, but Rogers was really ill-prepared for this switch. They did a crappy job, didn't seem to do any basic load testing or platform profiling, and now I notice that I'm getting targetted ads from Symatico when visiting many Canadian sites. Visit www.canoe.ca if you're on Rogers - you'll see the ad eventually. It says something like:

      'Changing your email address is a pain. Maybe it's time to switch ISPs'. Yeah... maybe it is.
      • Furthermore, why the hell is my LOGIN USERNAME for the pop3 email server have to have the full email address (ie myaddy@rogers.com)? The '@' symbol in the login name broke 90% of the email clients out there including older versions of Eudora and ALL versions of Netscape
        Back when I was using dial-up, Mindspring did the same thing...your POP3 login was $USERNAME@mindspring.com (or $USERNAME@$ISP_ACQUIRED_BY_MINDSPRING. Neither Lookout Express nor fetchmail had problems with it. If Nutscrape has problems with it, then I'd have to characterize that as a Nutscrape problem (one of thousands). Ditto for Eudora.
      • Oh COME ON.

        If you're rogers, and you find out that you have like a month in order to do the changes, do you think you'll have time to do full testing?. To be perfectly fair, they didn't have the amount of time required in order to do full load testing and everything before they needed to switch out. As it was they switched out only a week before excite "might" be turning their lights out.

        As for the login names, well, I have switched using Eudora 5.1 and had no problem. Most recent versions of email software shouldn't have any problem, and on their web site they layed out explicit instructions for not only the "official" supported clients, BUT ALSO the unsupported email clients too.

        I think that they did all they could in the time that they were given.

        Don't forget, this is no trivial task they are being asked to perform, and as you know fully well most of the time it's the management's fault, not giving the techs enough money, and in turn you can't really blame the management because they're on a strict budget.

        I mean, COME ON, you are getting really high speed access. In my case in Toronto area I get, at maximum, 4mbit/s downstream and capped at 400kbit/s upstream. I can get single connection speeds of upwards of 180KB/s if the sending server is fast enough.

        And you get all of this for $50CAD ($32USD) PER MONTH. That's cheaper than anywhere in the states, and you get faster speeds. For this price can you really complain if their email servers crashed because they only had a month to do a full switchover?

        Just because you lost your precious email for a few days doesn't mean that you should go nuts. Get a little more fiber in you diet.

        As for Sympatico, HA. DSL is slow, at least much slower than cable ever was for me (With the exception of being in res. 70 modem connections servicing 250 students on a single ring, yes, THAT was slow). 768kbit/s downstream vs 4mbit/s... Which do you think is better? Also 500kbit/s upstream vs 128kbit/s... I'd take cable any day.

        So no, it's not time to switch providers.
  • what about us... (Score:4, Informative)

    by djsable (257312) on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @09:34PM (#2622569) Homepage
    Some of us slashdot readers are going to be caught in that too you know.

    It's not all "trolls and Nimda spreaders" who happen to be on @home, and could be screwed.

    blah.
    • Re:what about us... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by camusflage (65105) on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @09:59PM (#2622700)
      It's not all "trolls and Nimda spreaders" who happen to be on @home, and could be screwed.

      You're absolutely right! It's spammers too. They're in the top ten sources of spam [spamcop.net] on spam reported through SpamCop [spamcop.net]. This is even more impressive considering that they send anything from spamcop, whether it's an automated report or a manual email with an @spamcop.net address, to Dave Null [devnull], prompting many SpamCop users to send a manual report

      While I feel bad about the legitimate customers, seeing a provider who is utterly unresponsive to spam complaints disappear down the drain after circling a while isn't exactly breaking my heart.
      • by aussersterne (212916) on Wednesday November 28, 2001 @12:25AM (#2623180) Homepage
        While I feel bad about the legitimate customers, seeing a provider who is utterly unresponsive to spam complaints disappear down the drain after circling a while isn't exactly breaking my heart.

        Well then, you're an asshole. I live in a major metropolitan area, but DSL isn't available almost anywhere. Most of the local ISPs went down the drain years ago. I've got I don't know how many family and friends in the area and out who are using excite@home. They'll all have to go back to phone lines with a different ISP. Many of them don't even own a 56k modem.

        Worse than technical issues, however -- if the service cuts off, many of them will be cut off as well from their family and friends around the globe, from their professors and schools, from their bill payment services and local banks and utilities. They will also likely lose their e-mail accounts in the middle of e-shopping-season, missing receipts, shipment notices, and other important e-commerce information, not to mention all of their e-mail if they've been using IMAP.

        I'll bet there's a spammer on your network somewhere. I hope your network goes down so that I can laugh at you when you have to pony up to AOL because of some idiot spammer you had nothing to do with.

        Cutting of someone's ISP without warning is like losing phone service without warning and not being able to get the same number again once phone service is resumed. It can screw your whole life up and I feel sorry for the people I know who aren't technical enough to buy and manage their own domain.

        And that's most of them.
        • You're lucky you had the service in the first place. What if you weren't ever able to get cheap broadband. If you're so pissy about it then pony up the $150 a month and get a real connection. Those of us who have never had the luxury of an inexpensive connection faster then 28.8k aren't going to go cry you a river.

          There are people in the world who can't even get a regular telephone, and you expect people to feel bad for you when your cable modem goes away? Write letters to your family. Send a check to pay the bills. What did you do before @home?

      • Interestingly enough to me, back when Excite first announced it's financial problems I started to receive spam on my private @home e-mail account. I have several I use, and I keep one account address "closely held" to avoid spam. I've been an @home subscriber for about three years with no inordinate spam problems. Suddenly I started getting spammed from @excite.com and @home.com and then from many other domains. All within a few days of @home/Excite announcing their cash crunch.

        Coincidence? Maybe, but I'm betting an address database got sold for some quick cash.
  • by Roofus (15591) on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @09:35PM (#2622578) Homepage
    I got an email from AT&T yesterday:

    Dear *************,

    As you may be aware, Excite@Home, our service provider, recently filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. In order to continue providing you the quality and reliable high-speed cable Internet service that you expect, AT&T has submitted a proposal to purchase the Excite@Home network. If AT&T is able to purchase and manage the Excite@Home network, there will be no immediate change to your current service. If the network purchase is approved, we will notify you via your AT&T@Home email account as soon as possible.

    As a precautionary measure, AT&T Broadband also has been building its own network and service in the event that AT&T is unable to purchase the Excite@Home network. If the proposal to purchase the Excite@Home network is not approved, your service may be temporarily interrupted and it will be necessary to move your service to a new AT&T Broadband network.

    In any event, AT&T Broadband is deeply committed to providing you the best cable Internet service possible and communicating any upcoming changes. Be sure to frequently check the "Announcements and Updates" section of our Web site for the latest information about your service: http://help.broadband.att.com/

    In the meantime, please check your AT&T Broadband email account(s) on a daily basis. Doing this will automatically save your email to your hard drive as well as ensure timely receipt of important future communications from AT&T Broadband. Also, if you use our Personal WebSpace feature, we recommend you backup your personal web page(s) by copying it to a diskette, CD, or to your computer hard drive.

    If migrating your service to the AT&T Broadband network and service becomes necessary, we will call to notify you of the migration timing. A message will be left on your voicemail or recorder if no one is available at the time of the call. As a precaution, we are providing you the following instructions, which will enable you to connect your computer to the new AT&T Broadband network. Again, you will only need to follow these steps in the event you receive a call from AT&T Broadband instructing you to do so.

    1. Restart your computer to begin the process.
    2. Open your Internet browser. You should be automatically sent to an AT&T Broadband welcome page. This page includes instructions on how to download software used to change your computer settings for the new network. If the welcome page does not automatically appear when you open your browser, please go to http://newuser.attbi.com/ (This website will only be available if the service migration is necessary).
    3. Follow the instructions on the Web site to run the Automated Configuration Utility (or you can choose to change your computer settings manually).
    4. The software will automatically change your Outlook Express email client, your Internet Explorer settings, and configure your computer for the new AT&T Broadband network. Information on how to manually change your settings for other email clients and Internet browsers such as Netscape Communicator and Netscape Navigator can be found at http://help.broadband.att.com/
    5. You can now surf the Internet and use email on the new AT&T Broadband Internet network and service.

    If migrating your service to the new network is necessary, certain aspects of your service would change. Your current homepage would feature new content and your current email address domain name would change. Please note that your username would remain the same. For example, jsmith@home.com would change to jsmith@attbi.com. If service changes are necessary, a detailed description of all changes will be provided at http://help.broadband.att.com/ in the Announcements and Updates section.

    Whether the Excite@Home network is purchased or your service is migrated to the new AT&T Broadband network, your Subscriber Agreement, which outlines the general Terms and Conditions of your service will change. You will be able to view the amended and restated Subscriber Agreement that will apply to the AT&T Broadband Internet service at http://help.broadband.att.com/ Your continued use of the service will constitute your acceptance of the amended and restated AT&T Broadband Internet Subscriber Agreement.

    If you need assistance, visit us online at http://help.broadband.att.com/ to chat with a customer care specialist. Please remember, AT&T Broadband will call you if any action is required on your part.

    While we realize these potential changes may cause some inconvenience, please be assured that we are doing everything possible to avoid any service disruptions. However, in the event the service is disrupted during a migration, you will receive a credit for those days of interrupted service.

    We are working hard to provide you with the best high-speed cable Internet service possible. We appreciate your patience and your business.

    Sincerely,

    Susan K. Marshall
    Senior Vice President
    Advanced Broadband Services
    • by Robotech_Master (14247) on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @10:19PM (#2622786) Homepage Journal
      I just talked to an AT&T@Home support rep via their Java web chat app.

      You say: Will my service through AT&T be affected if Excite discontinues its service Friday?

      After a bit of prevaricating...

      In-Max Marcus says: While we cannot be certain of the court's final decision, AT&T Broadband has always encouraged its customers to periodically save their browser bookmarks, personal Web page files, address book, and e-mail files to their desktop, disk or CD. These steps are commonly practiced for increased safety against unforeseen events such as computer crashes, network outages and virus infections.

      I was able to get the guy to come through with an answer:

      You say: I need the answer to this question: If Excite can't reach an agreement, and discontinues its service Friday, will my Internet access also be discontinued. I'd like a solid answer, please.

      In-Max Marcus says: No.your services will not be affected at all and we wil reprovisoin all the settings needed.


      So there you have it. My own cable service seems to be well in hand.
      • You say: I need the answer to this question: If Excite can't reach an agreement, and discontinues its service Friday, will my Internet access also be discontinued. I'd like a solid answer, please.

        In-Max Marcus says: No.your services will not be affected at all and we wil reprovisoin all the settings needed.


        Translation: We'll keep billing you. But you won't have any bandwidth flowing to or from your house.
  • ... have rolled out their own infrastructure at an estimated cost of C$100m. They've been "hassling" @home customers to shift over for a couple of months now, running contests as incentives, and so forth.

    I'd supply links but most Shaw customers visiting this site probably already know, and I'm feeling lazy.

  • FYI, there are three Canadian providers of @Home's service. The biggest (at least in eastern Canada) is Rogers, which started up separate email servers on Friday (after two delays for more testing), and started up their separate web servers (AFAIK) about a week before that. The 2nd-largest, Shaw, wanted to separate itself about a year ago, and started switching web servers long before @Home even filed for Chp.11, and switched email services about 2 months ago. Cogeco switched it's web and email services about 1 month ago.
  • the difference between Chapter 11 bankruptcy (where the court holds off the creditors while you submit a plan and work towards paying everything off and becoming profitable) and "going dark"???

    No wonder so many dot.coms went tits-up
  • by Arethan (223197) on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @09:43PM (#2622619) Journal
    I'm hearing rumors that @Home is delibrately causing issues with customer account conversions at various cable offices. My fiance is a CSR, and she's been talking about how @Home's sytems are no longer removing modem records from the headends, and the regional General Manager is contantly on the phone bitching at them to fix it (and fast). Apparently every time they try to convert a customer, they issue the account close operation, and it returns successfully, but the customer's modem stays online. When they add the local record for the subscriber, their UBR is given the appropriate information and will accept the modems, but the customer has a 50/50 chance of the @Home UBR responding before theirs. Effectively keeping most customers on @Home's network.

    You'd think that they were just having issues with their UBR, or maybe with their access to @Home's subscriber management system, but they are able to successfully add new customers to their own service just fine, and everything was going smoothly with conversions until just a week ago.

    Could be @Home being a prick until the very last minute, could be a coincedence. I'm not apt to support one theory or the other, I'm just relaying what I hear.

    Moderation: -1 Heresay! (lmao)
    • So what' wrong with two headends being responsible for one modem? The way I see it is this is bad for Excite, because a modem would be using a UBR on the Excite network while it is no longer a paying member of that network. This means Excite will be supporting a modem it just switched.

      But for the customer it won't be that bad. When the Excite UBR goes dark, the other UBR on the network they are paying for responds and they go along their way...

      Unless I'm missing something, Excite is only shooting thereself in the foot by mulling around with deleting serial numbers from their own HFC.
      • That's what I told my fiance as well. Her superiors told all CSRs to stop doing account conversions because of this issue. My response was to leave @Home in the dust and continue converting everyone. When @Home goes dark, pull @Home's UBR and simply issue a reset on all nodes. One-by-one every customer will come back online, this time guaranteed to be on the proper network. They'll get about 100 calls during the 15 minutes of downtime, but tech support could use the work. They've all been getting lazy ever since I stopped working there.
        • by hyrdra (260687) on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @11:36PM (#2623051) Homepage Journal
          I'm a network engineer for a cable provider in Columbus, Ohio. What we do is contract backbone service out to bandwidth companies in the area. When we switch networks what we do is issue a DHCP update to all of our nodes, and turn the DHCP server off before it has time to respond with a new IP address on the old network. We then send a TFTP configuration to the modem to turn the network control access object off, switch the HFC IP address, turn it back on, and by this time the DHCP server on the new network responds with the new IP address.

          The process is completly transparent and the only hit is to programs which keep a constant port open (e.g. file sharing programs), will suddenly loose a connection for receiving (sinc they have a new IP). However, they usually time out and reconnect.

          It also has the added advantage of flushing out priate modems on the network, since customers who use a modem with it's TFTP disabled or it's control locked to on don't receive the new info for the new network and are stuck on an old, dead network.

          We have switched networks over four times with only a few support calls. It could have been a big deal, requiring customer talk-throughs but we do it transparently.
          • If I were in the position of making the transfer, I'd explore the possibilities of a outage-less transfer as well. But looking back on previous experience of how my old employer handles issues like this (let's unplug it and plug it back in!), I fully expect 15 minutes of downtime sometime on friday morning or afternoon.
    • I heard that all of the new AT&T UBRs are simply using CAT to reflect the traffic to the former @Home UBR chain.

      In case you are unfamiliar with the implications of reflecting UBR traffic to another chain, the results can be absolutely devastating. You are talking about like 95% ACR load, which will disable all of the BGP gateways on the routers and cause a cascading failure of the border routers.

      I hope they fix it soon!
  • My ISP Service (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MBCook (132727)
    Well, first I'd like to say "you guys never post my stories even thought they may be the same as one that gets posted later".

    SERIOUSLY: I have Comcast@Home and do NOT want to lose my service. This is the best ISP that I've had (partly because of the speed). I waited for months to be able to get off of my 56k modem (which could only get ~21 due to the terrible phone lines), only to have it canceled in a few months? Just my luck. I am about 12x too far out for DSL and my only other option would be to go back to ISDN which is about 15x slower and costs easily 3x as much per month. I hope @home knows that there are many people like me who would be willing to pay an extra $5 or $10 per month if only I could keep my service. I have no other options. Let's review why:

    • Modem - Phone lines only let me have ~21kbps
    • Cable - Have now, could lose
    • Sattalite - Still needs modem, not as fast, HORRID PING
    • DLS - Way to far out for any kind
    • ISDN - 3x plus more expensive than current, and slower
    • Carrier Pigeon Protocall - Can't afford the birdseed

    I'm off to try to find the Judge's e-mail so that I can tell him of the situation he may put me and many others in. Of course hopefully the talks will work and none of this will happen, but with my luck...

  • Comcast [comcastonline.com] seems to have confidence that there will be no interruption in service. AT&T is buying Excite@Home's broadband pieces, so of course they won't be worried. Since Comcast and Cox are major shareholders along with AT&T, there's plenty of squabbling because no one wants their customers to go dark.
  • by RollingThunder (88952) on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @09:53PM (#2622662)
    We've been barraged for a couple months on Shaw @Home to set up new shaw.ca addresses.
  • comcast took over the local cable company, and is forcing my ISP to stop providing cablemodem access. Choices are to stay with cable, and get comcast's crappy service which won't allow me any servers, go with sprint/earthlink dsl (yeah, right!), or stay with current ISP, but pay more, but still run all my servers. Any way I go, I end up with PPPoE and a 128K upstream cap (I have 512 both directions now).
  • by antdude (79039) on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @09:58PM (#2622694) Homepage Journal
    Please read this thread [dslreports.com] on DSL Reports. It includes important information, schedule [24.48.59.187], etc. :)
  • by chip rosenthal (74184) <chip@unicom.com> on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @10:01PM (#2622710) Homepage
    It will be a huge relief in my spam load when @Home goes dark. My most recent attempt to report a spammer with a business-class account was bounced:

    Date: Mon, 26 Nov 2001 22:52:21 -0800
    To: Chip Rosenthal <chip@unicom.com>
    Subject: Fwd: Newsletter Provided by The Black World Today [Evaluation - see full header]
    From: AUP Enforcement Team <abuse@home.net>
    Reply-To: AUP Enforcement Team <abuse@home.net>

    Dear Chip Rosenthal,

    Your message, including your pasted-in email message body, firewall log,
    or newsgroup header, exceeded the maximum message size allowed by our
    mail service. Please reduce the size of your email message and exclude
    any excessive message body or MIME/UNICODE text.

    For firewall users, usually one line detailing a system probe attempt
    from an @Home user is sufficient for us to take action on the event.
    Multiple lines detailing more than one event from the same user are not
    necessary.

    Thank you,

    The @Home Network Policy Management Team

    The message they refused was a whopping 50K.

    Oh, and of course they fail to return the original report so that you can revise and resubmit it. That's a favorite trick of spam-friendly ISPs.

    Pity @Home flushed all that money on the Excite portal. Otherwise, maybe they could afford another disk shelf for their mail server.

    • 50K? What were you sending them, a raw TCP dump of your entire day's POP/SMTP sessions? Anything more than the headers of the email you received is just extra garbage for them to wade through.
      • Well, I don't know about chip, but when I file an abuse complaint, I tend to include the entire spam message so that they can verify the content as a commercial email. They don't have to read the whole thing if they don't want.

        These days with MS outlook html spam mails, 50k is a bit large, but not unheard of. Admittedly my largest spam for today is 18k, but I've gotten some whoppers before. (On the 26th I got a 42k byte spam.)

        If @homes AUP department can't handle a single 50k email, they've got problems ;)
  • excite sucked and was voted as the planet's worst ISP.

    AT&T has a great plan I hope. although a monkey with a stick can do a better job than excite did.

    just let the local cable offices deal with it. it's not like a proxy server, dhcp server and email server takes anyone with a brain to operate.
  • by Manaz (46799) on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @10:03PM (#2622719) Homepage
    Could milions of trolls and Nimda spreaders be taken off line?

    What, AOL are being closed down too? :)
  • This could get interesting.... I have an @Home cable modem, but am totally self-hosting. I use the cable modem solely for connectivity, running my own DNS servers, getting mail via MX records at my old ISP, etc.

    It should go without saying that @Home customer service has no idea what to do with me. They don't have a mechanism to support a "foreign" email address for customers who neither need nor want the "@Home experience." (It could be worse - USWorst DSL service now requires you agree to the incomparable "MSN experience.") Every service call is a joy because I have no clue what my username or password is, and they can't believe anyone has had an account for years yet never logged in.

    Hopefully if things go *splat* I'll get a call... or can get through to them. I'll be severely annoyed if I have to go back to dialup after I finally dropped the second phone line.
  • by Lostman (172654) on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @10:15PM (#2622762)
    I have been on comcast @home for a year and a half now. Completely addicted to my connection... Has ANYONE heard what comcast may be doing about this? I know that @home is just the portal/email/webspace/proxy... surely they wouldnt just drop the customers b/c of that would they?

    Anyone? (Do not mod up please)
  • Thoughts (Score:2, Informative)

    by Raven42rac (448205)
    Here is the E-Mail I received from COX:
    Dear Cox @ Home customer:

    Recently, you were informed that our high-speed Internet partner - Excite @
    Home - filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection. We recognize that this
    situation may have caused you some concern about the future of your service.
    Rest assured, we are taking all the necessary steps to provide continued reliable
    high-speed Internet service to our customers ... now and in the future.

    We are deeply committed to providing you with a quality high-speed Internet
    service. For several months, we have been hard at work creating a new Cox-
    managed network to better serve you. There are many benefits to directly
    managing our own network, such as:

    * Easier, more streamlined customer service experience.
    * Enhanced network performance.
    * Ability to bring you the latest in cutting-edge technology and product
    features.

    In the weeks ahead, we'll continue to keep you informed and share more details
    of our exciting plans. For more information, please visit www.cox.com/moreinfo
    We thank you for being a valued Cox customer.

    Sincerely,
    Cox Communications

    Hopefully, this E-Mail means that I do not have to dig out my 56k external modem again. Sometimes, I think that there would be fewer headaches with Dial-up, oh well, Mo Bandwidth, Mo Problems :)
  • My local @home... (Score:2, Informative)

    by stressky (218896)
    The local @home partner (Optus) here in Oz bought out our local division of excite@home. So no big problems here at all, we even get to keep our e-mail addresses :-) Only thing is there were a few small glitches a few weekends ago as they were transferring everyone over to new non-@home server infrastructure and new ip-addressing scheme. They did the whole shebang in one weekend.
  • www.home.net [home.net]

    News release, letter to subscribers and excite users, vendor and investor info.

    May actually be a source of information for youse guys.
  • AT&T recently sent my folks a letter informing them that prices had gone up to $50 per month. This caused them to seriously consider the worth of the cable service. Two weeks later, the statement arrives - my folks had overpaid $5, and it was refunded to their account.

    And just today, during a SSH session at school, the SSH session went dead for no good reason. When I got home, I discovered that the cable modem lights were syncing again and again and again and again. Once lights were finally synced up, I went online to discover a network outage, no doubt.

    Then there's the odd issue of their DHCP servers. My address includes a DHCP server address, but updating it doesn't really do anything - in March 2001, my IP address shifted from 24.*.*.* to 65.*.*.*.
  • by ryanvm (247662) on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @10:25PM (#2622814)
    Geez - I guess that's one way to keep people from using NAT behind their cable modem [slashdot.org].
  • Scuse me? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kypper (446750) on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @10:28PM (#2622823)
    Could milions of trolls and Nimda spreaders be taken off line?


    Someone moderate +1 troll to the poster of the article!

  • Charter Communications, aka That OTHER Evil Empire(TM), already switched us over from @Home to Charter Pipeline. So far, so good. It's up, anyway. Thanks to OpenBSD, I don't need their interesting but useless Weendoze software. BTW, if you decide to use their software, don't. You can't uninstall it save via reinstalling Winduhs.

    Unfortunately, DSL was not much of an option since I'm 18,000 feet from the CO. Oh, well. It still beats dial-up.

    @Home ... R.I.P.
  • by BrookHarty (9119) on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @10:39PM (#2622848) Homepage Journal
    I had customers calling into today saying they couldnt reach excite mobile mail on the phones. After some checking, mobile.excite.com says they discontinued thier service. They didnt even let me know so I could remove the connection.
  • Here is the blurb I received recently:

    Date sent: Mon, 19 Nov 2001 19:50:28 -0500 (EST)

    Dear Cox @ Home customer:

    Recently, you were informed that our high-speed Internet partner - Excite @ Home - filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection. We recognize that this situation may have caused you some concern about the future of your service. Rest assured, we are taking all the necessary steps to provide continued reliable high-speed Internet service to our customers ... now and in the future.

    We are deeply committed to providing you with a quality high-speed Internet service. For several months, we have been hard at work creating a new Cox- managed network to better serve you. There are many benefits to directly managing our own network, such as:

    * Easier, more streamlined customer service experience.

    * Enhanced network performance.

    * Ability to bring you the latest in cutting-edge technology and product features.

    In the weeks ahead, we'll continue to keep you informed and share more details of our exciting plans. For more information, please visit www.cox.com/moreinfo [cox.com].

    We thank you for being a valued Cox customer.

    Sincerely, Cox Communications

  • by interiot (50685) on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @10:42PM (#2622863) Homepage
    Step 1: Buy a majority stake in the top 2 broadband companies (Excite@Home and RoadRunner)

    Step 2: Merge with MediaOne [fcc.gov] and control 30% of cable.

    Step 3: Get the FCC to withdraw the cable ownership caps [cnet.com] set during MediaOne merger

    Step 4: Buy out the number one broadband company, despite protests from stockholders [cnet.com] that AT&T (being the majority stockholder) had set itself up to pay very little for Excite@Home.

  • Rogers @Home users should be a-ok - since I last met with their network engineering people (a couple months ago) they were pushing through with their contingency plans in case Excite @Home went boom. Now that it's apparently happening, they're more or less ready. Of course, the changeover hasn't been flawless, but a) what do you expect when you try to set up e-mail for 422,000 broadband users, about 1-1.5million accounts in six weeks? It's simply not a very easy thing to do. Also, having all 422,000 activate their e-mail accounts within a day or two isn't something you'd expect to go flawlessly. We spoke with their VP of Network Ops and Engineering before the changeover on the phone, and he said there are still several bugs to be ironed out (apparently the requiring the FROM: header to be @rogers.com isn't gonna stay around).

    The new news service right now is kinda sucky, but again, what do you expect when you go from Excite@Home, who have at least 30 (our guess) news peers to a server with only one. But again, I expect that'll change and improve with time.

    As for the IP services, Rogers is running their own DHCP/DNS/TFTP servers now - and almost all of the network is using these new servers now. Basically, there are three DHCP/DNS/etc clusters, with each modem be dualhomed to two at any given point. If one fails or is unavailable, the modems will be rehomed to the remaining two. Each cluster is made up of three Sun E420 (I believe) machines, with two production servers and one hot failover. DHCP is no longer run using the CRXXXX client-id number, but is now entirely MAC address based (hence your IP's reverse DNS lookup now containing your MAC address).

    As for the 'net access, Rogers has purchased a 5Gbps transit link from Teleglobe in NYC, and they said they are currently negotiating peering with other providers.

    So in a nutshell, if @Home goes bye bye on Friday, Rogers users are pretty well covered (although I'm sure there will still be some problems - there ALWAYS are).
  • http://www.home.net still has a link to sign up for internet service. I bet you can get a great deal for only 3 more days.
  • I have an account with Cogeco cable in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, and they had us switch our e-mail addresses about a month ago to user@cogeco.ca. I notice now when I do a traceroute I see only one router with a .home.net name (there used to be many) and the traffic then goes through a bunch of routers in Teleglobe.net starting in Toronto then getting to New York by way of Chicago. So, other than that one router (in Ontario) which may not even be owned by @Home anymore, we seem to be completely independent of Excite@Home. Service seems about the same as always: great when it's up, down a bit too often.
  • by thesolo (131008) <slap@fighttheriaa.org> on Wednesday November 28, 2001 @12:25AM (#2623184) Homepage
    I talked to a few people at Comcast back when Excite was having trouble earlier this year, and they hinted at the fact that there wouldn't be a problem if Excite went under.

    Later, when I called to complain about the newly-imposed bandwidth caps, they hinted at the fact that they would be offering different service plans in the near future, and mentioned Excite's financial troubles numerous times.

    Also, if you notice they have had their own portal (www.icomcast.net [icomcast.net]) up and running for some time now.

    Lastly, they just upped their cable modem service rates--from what I'm told by people at Comcast again, its to cover new operating expenses (read: no more Excite).

    So, with any luck, Comcast users shouldn't experience many, if any, problems with service. All signs are pointing to them keeping service afloat.
    • I am a comcast subscriber as well for the @home service. Other than getting bad service (actually getting the dang cable jacks installed and having the modem dropped off), I've been happy with it. Point is, I received this email this morning when I check it. Might help some people:

      Dear Comcast @Home Customer,

      As you may know, Excite@Home, the Internet service provider for Comcast @Home, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection at the end
      of September 2001. During this process, we are committed to keeping you informed about any new developments and to providing you
      with the best high-speed Internet service.

      This month, Excite@Home petitioned the Bankruptcy Court for permission to terminate agreements with its cable affiliates - including
      Comcast, Cox and AT&T - on November 30, 2001. If the Court grants Excite@Home's request, there could be a temporary disruption in
      the services Excite provides to the more than four million customers served by its North American affiliates.

      Please be assured that we value your business and are doing everything possible to ensure that there will be no interruption of your
      Comcast @Home service. Additionally, we have taken the following steps to minimize any inconvenience should a temporary service
      disruption occur as a result of the Court's ruling:

      Toll-free Customer Information Hotline (1-888-433-6963): you can call in for the latest updates as we work to quickly resolve any
      issues.
      Web Site Message Center at www.comcastonline.com/info.htm: we will provide online updates and an FAQ section to answer your
      questions.
      Automatic Account Credits: we will credit your account automatically, so you will be properly reimbursed for any time you are
      without service.

      We also have been working to develop a Comcast-managed network that will provide you the always-on cable-powered, high-speed
      Internet service you've come to enjoy. We will make this new service available as quickly as possible and will provide you with
      more details in future correspondence.

      Five years ago, Comcast became one of the first cable companies to offer customers high-speed Internet service. We remain committed
      to providing you with high quality service both now and in the future and thank you for choosing Comcast.

      Sincerely,

      David Juliano
      Sr. Vice President & General Manager

      COMCAST @HOME FAQS

      How can I connect to the Internet if my service is interrupted?

      We recommend that you take advantage of Comcast's Connection Backup Program to obtain free dial-up and e-mail service as a temporary
      alternative. Visit www.comcastonline.com/info.htm today to sign up for service. (This service requires that you have a phone
      modem.)

      What will happen to my personal Web page ?

      As a safety precaution, you should always backup your personal Web page to a CD or hard drive. For detailed instructions, please
      visit www.comcastonline.com/info.htm.

      What should I be doing right now?

      1. Back up your personal Web page.
      2. Check your @Home e-mail daily. Opened messages will be saved automatically to your hard drive.
      3. Take advantage of Comcast's Connection Backup Program.

      What will happen to any e-mail sent to me if my service is interrupted?

      We are hopeful that Excite@Home would store and hold your @Home e-mail until the service is restored. However, we cannot guarantee
      that this will happen as Excite@Home controls the e-mail servers.

      What should I do with my Comcast cable modem?

      In the unlikely event of a service interruption, you should leave your modem connected to your computer until service is restored.
      If you lease your modem from Comcast, we would automatically issue a credit for both service and equipment rental during any service
      interruption.

      What should I do if there is a temporary service interruption?

      1. Call the Comcast toll-free hotline at 1-888-433-6963 for regular status updates.
      2. Connect to the Web through Comcast's Connection Backup Program and visit www.comcastonline.com/info.htm for Web updates.
  • I have a Pac Bell SBC Internet connection ~ 2.5 years now. Been workin' 24x7, very few hassles. Static IP, no passwords or anything, and very reliable, 1.5 Mb down and ~300Kb up - definitely no complaints at $50/mo!

    I am just amazed that with all this demand, how could these companies just not be making any money?

    SBC raised their rates for new accounts a while back by $10/mo, but didn't change any existing account's prices at all.

    -Ben

  • Regardless what you think of @home users generally, it is a great tragedy for millions of people to lose internet access. It is at least as bad as millions of people losing phone and mail service at once. Wireheads like us should reasonably feel it is even more tragic.

    Something is wrong with our models and system when infrastructure is that fragile.
  • by Hadean (32319) <hadean.dragon+slashdotNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday November 28, 2001 @10:55AM (#2624448)
    It's not that the loss of Excite isn't causing any confusion, but for both Rogers@Home and Cogeco@Home, customers have been contacted weeks ago about the change (snail mail, television commercials, e-mails, and even phone calls). Rogers and Cogeco will simply be changing over to @rogers.com and @cogeco.com respectively, and, as long as no one has their system set up as a static IP (which it shouldn't), the user only needs to change their e-mail program of the change (and maybe reupload their website to the new domain).

    The sad part is, Excite is definitely being a big dink about all of this. I had several usernames from Cogeco, and then
    I moved to a Rogers-controlled area. Everything was fine until now - unfortunately, since Rogers wasn't the original creator of the usernames, they can't transfer it to @rogers.com - and since Cogeco can't get Excite to transfer them to Rogers, I'm rather stuck. Fine, I can just get Rogers to create some accounts for me when everything's settled, but Excite could have simply deleted the accounts and then Rogers could have had free access to them - but no, they froze the accounts, not allowing anyone to touch it. Ugh. Ah well, things will be MUCH better now that Excite is over with... at least from my end of things.

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