AT&T Broadband sealed a multiple-Internet-service-provider deal with
NET1Plus, a regional provider that serves roughly 15,000 residential and
business Internet customers in the New England region.
Under terms, NET1Plus will be offered via the MSO's broadband networks in
Massachusetts. AT&T Broadband -- which concluded a six-month, $20 million
technical 'ISP Choice' trial in Boulder, Colo., last June -- is preparing to
expand on that later this year.
NET1Plus marks the second provider to reach an ISP Choice deal with the MSO.
EarthLink Inc., the first, signed on with AT&T Broadband in February.
In mid-March, the Federal Communications Commission, in a 3-1 vote, defined
cable-modem service as an information service rather than a telecommunications
service. The ruling meant that cable operators aren't required to allow outside
ISPs onto their cable networks.
Time Warner Cable, however, is required to open up due to regulatory
stipulations tied to its merger with America Online Inc. And it's possible that
regulators could adhere similar requirements to the pending merger between
AT&T Broadband and Comcast Corp.
Although the FCC ruling has come under scrutiny from the Media Access Project
and ISPs such as EarthLink, the cable industry has held that the decision allows
competition, rather than regulation, to rule in the marketplace.
'This agreement further demonstrates our commitment to work with ISPs -- both
large and small, national and regional -- to create a true ISP-choice
environment,' AT&T Broadband president and CEO Bill Schleyer said in a press