• EarthLink

    EarthLink

    EarthLink is one of the nation’s top Internet service providers (ISP), providing IT, network, and communications services to more than 150,000 businesses and one million residential customers. Their headquarters are located in Atlanta, Georgia. The company was co-founded in March of 1994 by 23-year-old Sky Dayton and investors Reed Slatkin and Kevin M. O’Donnell in Los Angeles. Dayton was inspired to start the company after spending a week continually trying to set up his own computer to receive Internet access.

    The company now has two divisions: Business Services and Consumer Services. They offer the following Internet options: Dial-Up, DSL, broadband, and satellite Internet services. They also offer website hosting, ecommerce plans, IT services such as cloud hosting and virtualization, Voice-Over Internet Protocol (VOIP), and networking services. Their current P/E value, which is the earnings per share value, is 63.27. This number is the company’s last announced earnings divided by the number of shares outstanding.

    Recent Acquisitions

    In 2010, the company launched its Business Division and executed numerous large business acquisitions in order to boost the new division. Later that year, they acquired ITC Deltacom, which is a telecommunications service provider that had over 32,000 customers. Soon afterward, the company announced its acquisition of One Communications, which is a large, private telecommunications solutions provider in the United States.

    In the next year, they acquired STS Telecom, which provides Internet, voice, and data services to businesses in Georgia and Florida. Two months later, the company created the Carrier Division in order to serve customers with fiber transport, data and voice service, and more. Later that month, they acquired LogicalSolutions.net, which is a cloud services provider and enterprise data center solution. In August of 2011, Business Vitals was acquired by the company, which provides professional services and managed IT security.

    Pricing and Plans

    The company offers many Internet options from dial up Internet to satellite Internet. 56K dial up Internet services are available almost everywhere in the United States, and starting prices are $9.95 per month for the first three months. After the first three months, dial up Internet costs $21.95 per month. There is also a Dial-Up Prepay Plan in which $150 is paid at sign up for an entire year of service. This averages to about $12.95 per month, which is about $9.00 per month cheaper than the standard $21.95 per month payment plan.

    The company offers many different high-speed Internet options. Cable Internet is available to Time Warner and Comcast customers throughout the United States. The cable Internet options are not available in some areas, so a new customer must go to the website and search for Internet plans available to his or her area. Prices vary from $21.95 per month to $51.90 per month, depending on the speed of the plan chosen. The following are plans available to Time Warner customers:

    1. Up to 768 Kbps service for $29.95 per month

    2. Up to 6.0-10.0 Mbps service for $29.95 per month for the first 6 months, and $41.95 per month thereafter

    3. Up to 10.0-15.0 Mbps service for $39.90 per month for first 6 months, and $51.90 per month thereafter

    Comcast customers can have up to 6.0 Mbps service for $29.95 per month for the first three months, and $45.95 per month after that.

    DSL Internet, or Internet through a phone connection, is available to customers with home phone service and without home phone service. DSL services are not available in all areas, so a customer must go to the website to find out what plans are available in his or her area. All regular DSL plans (plans for customers with home phone service) are subject to an introductory offer of $14.95 per month for the first three months. Plan prices after the introductory period vary according to the Internet speed purchased:

    1. 1.5 Mbps service for $29.95-$39.95 per month

    2. 3.0 Mbps service for $34.95-$44.95 per month

    3. 5.0 Mbps and higher for $39.95-$49.95 per month

    For customers who would prefer not to have home phone service, Freestanding DSL Service is offered, which has an introductory offer of $14.95 per month for the first three months. After that, it costs $39.95 per month.

    The company also offers satellite Internet through HughesNet. The plans prices vary based on the speed purchased:

    1. 10/1 Mbps service for $39.99 per month

    2. 10/2 Mbps service for $70.99 per month

    3. 15/2 Mbps service for $99.99 per month

    Satellite high-speed Internet is available almost anywhere in the country. All that is necessary to get satellite Internet is a clear view of the southern sky.

    Connection Speeds

    Their dial up Internet has a connection speed of 56 K, which means that the Internet connection can transfer up to 56 kilobits of information per second. They offer a Dial-Up Accelerator, which can increase the transfer rate to up to seven times the standard rate. Some web pages, such as secure or encrypted web pages, will not be accelerated with the Dial-Up Accelerator.

    Broadband Internet has most recently been loosely defined as Internet that is capable of transferring at least 256 kilobits of information. The company offers three different types of broadband, or high-speed, Internet: cable, DSL, and satellite Internet. There are three different speeds of cable Internet that the offer: 756 Kbps (kilobits per second), 6-10 Mbps (megabits per second), and 10-15 Mbps. These can take the form of wired and wireless internet.

    The company also offers three different speeds for its DSL Internet: 1.5 Mbps, 3.0 Mbps, and 5.0 Mbps. Freestanding DSL Service offers up to 7.0 Mbps. It is important to note that these speeds are referenced in terms of peak performance. There are many factors that can affect the speed of an Internet connection: quality of wiring, weather, distance, amount of usage on the network as a whole, and more. Internet speed can vary with any of broadband connection options. Wireless internet is expected to be less reliable than its wired counterpart.

    The company also offers three satellite Internet speeds. Because the satellite Internet is through HughesNet, the speeds are defined in different terms. The speeds advertised still reference peak performance, but the satellite speeds are given in terms of download/upload speed. The Internet will always have a faster download (from Internet to computer) rate than upload (from computer to Internet) rate. The three speeds of satellite Internet offered by the company are 10/1 Mbps, 10/2 Mbps, and 15/2 Mbps. Satellite Internet comes with a data limit. This means that only a certain amount of data can be transferred over the Internet per month, which includes email, web surfing, and media streaming. A customer can choose to have a limit of anywhere from 10 GB to 40 GB of data per month.

    Additional Features

    Depending on the plan and type of Internet purchased, there are many additional features that are offered by the company. The Dial-Up Accelerator is free with purchase of dial-up Internet services. They also offer free protection from viruses, spyware, and hackers, when a dial-up Internet plan is purchased. They offer free 24/7 support from their dial-up Internet experts. Their dial-up Internet is unlimited and can even be accessed from any phone line. Finally, they also offer up to eight protected email addresses with its dial-up Internet plan.

    For their cable Internet plans, the company offers free protection against viruses, spyware, and hackers. They also offer free 24/7 technical support from their cable Internet experts. Additionally, they offer up to 20 hours of dial up Internet for free that can be accessed from anywhere as long as the customer calls one of the numbers given..

    Their DSL Internet plans come with a free, high-speed DSL modem. As with the cable plans, all of their DSL Internet plans come with free protection against viruses, spyware, and hackers. They also offers 24/7 technical support for each of its DSL Internet plans. Finally, just like its other broadband Internet plans, they give the customer up to 20 hours of free dial-up Internet that can be accessed from anywhere.

    EarthLink also offers services such as web hosting and website creation. Websites can either be created by the customer or by the design experts outsourced through them. If a customer chooses to design a website, free web and mobile site builders and templates are available. Numerous do-it-yourself plans have monthly payments to cover web hosting, but they come with a free domain name for one year. All of the website building plans also come with an email marketing tool, a website analytics tool, an SEO tool to help give your page a higher rank in search engines, and a website analytics tool to monitor traffic to your website as well as track visitor activity.

    Help and Support

    EarthLink offers many different types of technical support and help: phone support, email support, and live chat support are the typical types of support. Another option that they offer is the “Call Me” support, with which a customer can go to the website and provide a contact number and he or she will be contacted as soon as a representative is available. They also offer the answers to a number of Frequently Asked Questions on their website. There are also newsletter articles on the website that may be able to answer any customer questions.

    Conclusion

    In summary, EarthLink has many different dial-up and broadband options for a customer to consider when deciding on an Internet plan for his or her home. Besides being a versatile Internet service provider, they offer additional services, such as wireless internet, Voice-Over Internet Protocol, website creation, website hosting, and software purchases. Based on the awards and acknowledgements that the company has received, a customer should strongly consider using them as their Internet service provider.

    References

    http://www.jdpower.com/

    http://www.earthlink.net/

    http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3405300149.html

    http://www.google.com/finance?q=Earthlink&ei=SIMeUcDeH66J0QGVgwE