Excite@Home Lands Radio Shack Deal

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Redwood City, Calif.-Excite@Home Corp. and RadioShack Corp. last week announced a strategic alliance designed to speed consumer adoption of broadband Internet access over cable, and a PaineWebber Inc. analyst said Comcast Corp. would be the biggest MSO beneficiary.

The alliance that enables Excite@Home to sell cable modems through the Fort Worth, Texas-based Radio Shack retail chain "will accelerate high-speed rollout in several ways," according to PaineWebber first vice president of research Thomas Eagan. Excite@Home's introduction of improved self-install software would also help.

The high-speed data service and its cable partners have been selling their cable modems in Circuit City stores since summer of 1999.

In their announcement, the companies said the new install process would be "easily implemented by even the most inexperienced Internet users."

"Streamlining the installation process is the critical component for driving cable-broadband adoption into more homes," CEO George Bell said in a prepared statement. He also predicted a "dramatic" increase in signups.

"Our business strategy is to become America's connectivity store," added RadioShack CEO Leonard Roberts.

Comcast will be the first cable partner to benefit from that agreement, as the modems roll out to about 150 RadioShack outlets within the MSO's mid-Atlantic mega-cluster during the current quarter, Eagan added.

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