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EarthLink Grounded By Earth Day Power Outage

Some EarthLink-hosted Web sites were knocked offline and others lost e-mail service Wednesday as the ISP reeled from a power outage in California.
Earth Day, Wednesday, was a bad day for many EarthLink users: An outage at the Internet service provider EarthLink caused many users to lose their e-mail service for several hours during the ecological holiday celebration.

The outage also knocked out some of EarthLink's nearly 90,000 hosted Web sites, according to media reports. The outage was caused by a power outage in Pasadena, Calif., according to the company.

Once riding high on its campaign to deploy municipal Wi-Fi networks, EarthLink got caught up with the demise of the municipal networks two years ago as it dropped projects in San Francisco, New Orleans, Corpus Christi, and Philadelphia. Political maneuverings and then technical problems sunk most U.S. Wi-Fi municipal projects, but a few have survived and even thrived.

The company's new chairman and CEO, Rolla Huff, has overseen a program called "Connect for Less." The campaign takes advantage of the economic decline, offering consumers dial-up service at rates substantially lower than DSL and cable Internet rates. Even though it continues to lose dial-up subscribers, the economical campaign has slowed the loss of the narrowband subscribers. EarthLink also offers DSL and cable broadband service.

In its latest financial report in February, EarthLink reported declining revenue for the quarter ended Dec. 31 of $216 million. The company recorded a net income gain, however, of $27 million. At the time, Huff noted that EarthLink had $534 million in cash and marketable securities even as it continues to generate significant cash flow.


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