Raleigh-Durham, N.C., and Tampa, Fla., are the latest Time Warner Cable
markets to light up multiple-Internet-service-provider access for cable-modem
service, but they also may prove an early test of consumer reaction to pricing,
brand and content.
EarthLink Network Inc. and Time Warner's sister Internet division, America
Online Inc., have launched service in the two markets. The Raleigh-Durham market
will pass 760,000 homes, while the Tampa market passes 1.4 million.
The services are markedly different in price.
EarthLink will market service in Raleigh-Durham and Tampa for an introductory
$41.95 monthly fee for speeds up to 2 megabits per second downstream and 384
kilobits per second upstream.
The package includes the modem, eight electronic-mail addresses, firewall
software, multiuser-access support, local content, a messenger service
compatible with 'AOL Instant Messenger,' unlimited access to EarthLink's online
Web-site builder, roaming access across EarthLink's dial-up network, anti-spam
software and EarthLink's print magazine and electronic newsletter.
The ISP has also started service in Time Warner's Columbus, Ohio, and
Syracuse, N.Y., markets.
In contrast, AOL cable-modem subscribers will pay $54.95 monthly for the
basic service, although other plans also are available.
Powered by AOL's new 7.0 software, the service also includes the modem, up to
seven e-mail addresses, instant messaging, personal calendars and remote dial-up
In addition, it offers a raft of news, sports, entertainment and travel
content, as well as a special multimedia package with streaming audio and video
content, shopping discounts, chat functions, buddy lists, firewall software and
parental Web-access controls.