Excite@Home subscribers gain an extension

More than a million cable Internet subscribers will keep their service for the near future, thanks to agreements reached between...

More than a million cable Internet subscribers will keep their service for the near future, thanks to agreements reached between bankrupt US cable Internet provider Excite@Home and its cable network operator customers.

The cable network companies include Cox Communications, Comcast Cable, Rogers Cable, Insight Communications and MediaCom.

Insight announced that the four companies and Mediacom Communications had together agreed to pay a total of $355m (£249.7m).

Cox Communications and Comcast Cable Communications said they had signed deals under which they would each pay $160m (£113m) for three months of service. Insight Communications said it had agreed to pay $10m (£7m) for three months of service

The agreements need to be approved by the bankruptcy courts and a decision is expected within 20 days.

Continuation of service from Excite@Home had been in doubt after Judge Carlson ruled that the company could cease service from midnight on 30 November.

The company's creditors had filed for the ability to shut down operations as part of their continuing search for a buyout or to enable them to renegotiate contracts with cable network operators.

Following the breakdown of takeover talks, the company pulled the plug on AT&T in the early hours of 1 December. The move left 850,000 AT&T subscribers without cable Internet service.

However, service has remained largely uninterrupted for other cable network operators.

Cox, Comcast, Rogers and Insight all said the service agreements signed on 3 December, will be used to provide stop-gap service while they switch customers from the Excite@Home service to their own service offerings.

Cox has 575,000 subscribers to its cable Internet service and, at the end of Septmember, Comcast had just under 800,000 subscribers, Insight had 60,000 high speed data subscribers, Rogers had 422,000 subscribers and Mediacom had 98,000 subscribers.

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