05:56 PM

EarthLink Offers Cheap PCs To New Subscribers

EarthLink offers new subscribers to its premium dial-up service a desktop PC for $69.99 or a laptop for $399.

Earthlink Inc. on Thursday offered new subscribers to its premium dial-up service a desktop PC for $69.99 or a laptop for $399.

The computers from Microtel Computer Systems would be available through June 25, officials with the Atlanta-based Internet service provider said. The computers were available through Microtel's website and required a one-year commitment to Earlthlink's Premium Dial-Up Internet access service.

In placing orders, people can choose between computers with Microsoft Windows or Linux Xandros Desktop operating systems.

The offer was the second scheme announced by Earthlink in as many days to attract potential subscribers. The company on Wednesday launched a web portal for non-subscribers that could be customized for personalized news, entertainment, sports, stock quotes and other content. Company officials said they hoped to attract new customers to Earthlink's broadband service.

Last month, Earthlink reported that it had added 94,000 net broadband subscribers in the first quarter, but its dial-up service declined by 186,000 subscribers. Its narrowband subsidiary PeoplePC, however, added 109,000 net subscribers.

The boost in subscribers helped the company in the first quarter swing to a profit of $33.3 million. During the same period in 2004, the company had lost $11.8 million. EarthLink ended the quarter with a total of 5.4 million subscribers, a 1.3 percent increase over a year ago.

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