Cox Communications Inc. said it will launch a
multiple-Internet-service-provider trial in the third quarter of this year, and
it has signed EarthLink Network Inc. as its first unaffiliated ISP partner.
The MSO said the six-month technical test with EarthLink could grow into a
definitive open-access agreement. Cox's first foray into open access will take
place at the operator's system in El Dorado, Ark.
'We are eager to explore the technical feasibility of offering more than one
ISP on our network in anticipation of forming a relationship that allows both of
us to realize the significant business opportunities that exist in the
high-speed Internet-access market,' Cox senior vice president of strategy and
development Dallas Clement said in a prepared statement.
Broadband continues to play a large part in EarthLink's overall strategy.
Although most of its high-speed efforts are with digital-subscriber-line
providers, the ISP is also expected to take part in Comcast Corp.'s forthcoming
open-access test in the Philadelphia area, and it is currently participating in
similar pilots operated by Time Warner Cable and AT&T Broadband. Charter
Communications Inc. has also offered EarthLink as its primary ISP in a few
select markets since 1997.