Hot on the heels of the decision by bankrupt broadband provider Excite@Home to disconnect its services from over 850,000 AT&T cable subscribers [WAMN: 03-Dec-01], two other cable-TV groups that rely on the firm to offer high-speed web packages have forged new deals ensuring uninterrupted access.

Comcast Corporation and Cox Communications have agreed, subject to approval by a bankruptcy court judge, to pay Excite $160 million each in return for three months’ broadband service. The payments will be made in place of the monthly subscriber fees charged by the internet firm.

The news follows a ruling late last week in favour of Excite’s creditors, allowing the broadband provider to cancel its service if the contracts were not renegotiated. After talks broke down with AT&T – which balked at the reported asking price of over $300m – Excite made good on its threat.

Other cable partners have also forged deals with Excite, including Toronto’s Rogers Communications (425,000 customers) and New York operator Insight Communications (75,000).

The latest agreements provide little long-term hope for Excite, as both Cox and Comcast intend to shift their broadband subscribers (555,000 and 800,000 respectively) to networks of their own. Comcast expects to do so before the three-month period is up, while Cox’s network, thought to cost $150m, should be ready some time next year [WAMN: 29-Nov-01].

News source: Wall Street Journal