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EarthLink Inc.
IndustryIT Services, Cloud computing, ISP & Communications
HeadquartersAtlanta, Georgia, US
Key peopleJoseph F. Eazor, Bradley Ferguson, James P. O'Brien, Michael D. Toplisek
ProductsIT services, Business high speed Internet and voice services, Cloud hosting, Consumer ISP,
RevenueIncreaseUS$1.216 billion (2007)
Employees3,000+ (2012)[1]
WebsiteEarthLink Business, EarthLink Cloud,
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EarthLink Inc.
IndustryIT Services, Cloud computing, ISP & Communications
HeadquartersAtlanta, Georgia, US
Key peopleJoseph F. Eazor, Bradley Ferguson, James P. O'Brien, Michael D. Toplisek
ProductsIT services, Business high speed Internet and voice services, Cloud hosting, Consumer ISP,
RevenueIncreaseUS$1.216 billion (2007)
Employees3,000+ (2012)[1]
WebsiteEarthLink Business, EarthLink Cloud,

EarthLink is an IT services, network and communications provider headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, US. The company serves more than 150,000 businesses and 1 million U.S. consumers.[1]


Part of the EarthLink headquarters in Atlanta.

As of 2012, EarthLink operates two distinct divisions: EarthLink Business Services and EarthLink Consumer Services.

EarthLink Business Services include connectivity (MPLS, T-1, DS3, DSL, Ethernet, Wireless), IT services (cloud hosting, virtualization, data and voice CPE, IT security, managed services, ASP Web hosting), and wholesale services (fiber capacity and network services).[2] The company owns and operates a U.S. network including 29,421 route miles of fiber, 90 metro fiber rings, and eight data centers. The network covers over 90 percent of the country. EarthLink Business Services provides IT and IP services for more than 150,000 customers.[3]

EarthLink Consumer Services include broadband (DSL, freestanding DSL, cable Internet, satellite Internet), voice over Internet protocol (VOIP) phone services, dial-up Internet, Web hosting and ecommerce, and related services such as software. EarthLink provides Internet services to over 1 million homes.[3]


Early Years[edit]

EarthLink was co-founded in March 1994 by Sky Dayton at age 23, investor Reed Slatkin and Kevin M. O'Donnell. Dayton reportedly was inspired to start the dial-up Internet service provider (ISP) in Los Angeles after spending an entire week trying to configure his own computer for Internet access. Dayton’s experience convinced him that there was a market for a simple, user-friendly ISP.[4]

Co-founder Kevin M. O'Donnell helped raise capital for the exploding communication venture and urged a number of significant old friends from his Government Technology days to join the Board. His enthusiasm garnered the recruitment of numerous Vice Presidents in the company, as well as, and most significantly, bringing in the first major round of funding from Greg B. Abbott (a successful entrepreneur and former CEO of Ithaca Industries), as well as the hiring of CEO Garry Betty

By 1995, EarthLink offered nationwide dial-up service (98 cities) and was the first ISP to offer unlimited Internet access for a flat rate.[5]

In 1996, EarthLink began to offer Internet services for businesses, including ISDN and frame relay Internet access[6] and web hosting.[7] In October, EarthLink was named “Internet Company of the Year” by the Southern California Software Industry Council.[8]

EarthLink Goes Public, Hits 1 Million Members[edit]

EarthLink went public on NASDAQ in January 1997. Later that year, the company began to provide 56K dial-up access, doubling speed of its dial-up service. EarthLink also teamed up with Charter Communications to offer high-speed cable Internet access.[9]

In 1998, EarthLink entered partnerships with Sprint, Apple, CompUSA, and other companies that helped it reach 1 million members by the end of the year.[5]

In 1999 EarthLink launched its TotalCommerce ecommerce solution for small business Web hosting and also became the first ISP to offer nationwide high-speed Internet access via DSL.[5]

MindSpring Merger, Growing Product Portfolio[edit]

On February 4, 2000, the company, then based in Pasadena, California, merged with Atlanta-founded MindSpring, making it the second-largest ISP in the U.S., after AOL.[10]

Later that year, the company launched EarthLink Biz DSL service and won PC World’s World Class Award for Best ISP.[11] EarthLink also acquired, a large, rural ISP, and Rural Connections in 2001.[12]

In 2001, EarthLink partnered with DirecPC to offer a 2-way satellite Internet service.[13] The company also introduced a fixed-IP DSL service for the SOHO business market.[14]

On June 10, 2002, EarthLink acquired PeoplePC, a value-priced dial-up ISP.

The company also won several awards in 2002. EarthLink was named Top ISP by CNet for the 3rd consecutive year and received a 5-star rating from Smart Business.[15] And in August 2002, J.D. Power and Associates ranked EarthLink Dial-Up Highest in Customer Satisfaction. EarthLink High-Speed tied for the Highest in Customer Satisfaction ranking.[16]

EarthLink launched a VoIP phone service for broadband users called Unlimited Voice in April 2003.[17] In August, J.D. Power and Associates ranked EarthLink High Speed Highest in Customer Satisfaction for the second consecutive year.[18] The company also released several free tools for its members to block spam, viruses, and spyware.[19]

In September 2004, J.D. Power and Associates ranked both EarthLink Dial-Up and EarthLink High Speed Highest in Customer Satisfaction.[20] EarthLink Dial-Up also received the PC Magazine Readers’ Choice Award for the second year in a row.[15]

New Ventures: Municipal Wi-Fi, Helio, VoIP, New Edge Networks[edit]

At the start of 2005, EarthLink and SK Telecom, the largest mobile phone company in South Korea,[21] announced a new joint venture called SK-EarthLink, which would become the Helio mobile phone company.[22] Helio, a new MVNO, or mobile virtual network operator, targeted young, tech-savvy consumers with advanced wireless devices and services common in Korea but not the U.S. Helio launched a total of 7 phones (Kickflip, Hero, Drift, Heat, Ocean, Fin and Mysto) and had 170,000 subscribers before it was sold to Virgin Mobile USA in June 2008.[23]

In July 2005, EarthLink announced that it was closing its last in-house call centers to reduce costs, deciding to rely entirely on outsourced technical support and customer service.[24]

In September, 2005, Earthlink acquired Aluria Software, LLC-an industry leader in the production of Anti-Spyware software based in Lake Mary, Florida. Founded in 1999 & a proven leader in the industry, Aluria Software had been the Anti-Spyware provider for America Online since 2003.

In October 2005, Philadelphia, PA,[25] and Anaheim, CA, selected EarthLink to build their municipal Wi-Fi networks.[26] EarthLink's Municipal Networks division would launch public wi-fi networks in Anaheim, Philadelphia, New Orleans, and Milpitas, CA,[27] and win several more municipal contracts before EarthLink decided to exit the muni wi-fi business by the end of 2007.[28]

EarthLink launched two new voice services between late 2005 and early 2006: a stand-alone VoIP service called EarthLink trueVoice[29] and a high-speed Internet and voice bundle called EarthLink DSL & Home Phone Service.[30]

In April 2006, EarthLink acquired New Edge Networks, a provider of network and communication services for businesses.[31] In June, the EarthLink’s Municipal Networks division launched the company’s first citywide Wi-Fi network in Anaheim, CA.[32]

CEO Changes[edit]

On November 21, 2006, EarthLink reported in a press release that its CEO, Garry Betty, had been diagnosed with a serious form of cancer which would have required him to take an undetermined leave of absence. The company's Board of Directors named Mike Lunsford, Vice-President of Voice and Access, as interim CEO. Betty died on January 2, 2007.[33][34] On June 25, 2007, EarthLink named Rolla Huff its President and CEO. On January 29, 2008, EarthLink announced that Rolla Huff would replace Robert Kavner as Chairman of the Board.[35] In January, 2014, EarthLink announced that Joseph F. Eazor would replace Rolla Huff as President and CEO.[36]

Company Restructures[edit]

In October 2006, EarthLink reported its first quarterly loss in more than 2½ years. Revenue from dial-up customers dropped 16.8 percent as the company lost 320,000 of those customers from the previous year. The company predicted another loss in the fourth quarter of 2006 of $15–$25 million due to investment in Helio.[37]

In response to increased budgetary concerns, new EarthLink CEO Rolla Huff began a major restructuring in August 2007. The company planned to lay off approximately 900 employees, consolidate offices, and withdraw from several product lines.[38] The restructuring helped EarthLink return to profitability in the fourth quarter of 2007, posting free cash flow of $59 million and $71 million of EBITDA for the quarter.[12]

In September, J.D. Power and Associates again ranked both EarthLink Dial-Up and EarthLink High Speed Highest in Customer Satisfaction (High Speed ranking is in 2 of 4 regions).[39]

New EarthLink Business Division, Business Acquisitions[edit]

J.R. Cook, VP of the Earthlink Channel, and Sherri Turpin, VP of Earthlink Channel Strategy, present Telarus President, Adam Edwards, with the top 2012 Partner Award.[40]

By 2010, EarthLink CEO Rolla Huff was restructuring the company to focus on IT, network and communication services for businesses, launching its EarthLink Business division and making several large business acquisitions to bolster the new division.

In October, EarthLink announced its acquisition of ITC Deltacom, a telecom service provider with 32,000 small and mid-sized business customers, along with enterprise, government agency and wholesale customers.[41]

In December 2010, EarthLink acquired One Communications, one of the largest privately held integrated telecom solutions providers in the U.S.[42]

In March 2011, EarthLink also acquired STS Telecom, a privately held business providing voice, data and internet services to small to medium-sized business customers in Florida and Georgia.[43] STS Telecom was integrated into the new EarthLink Business division, along with the recently acquired One Communications and Deltacom, New Edge Networks, and EarthLink’s legacy Business Solutions.

In May 2011, the company created a new EarthLink Carrier division to serve wholesale customers with fiber-based transport, voice and data service, and switched services.[44]

Also in May, EarthLink acquired, an enterprise data center solution and cloud services provider.[45]

In August, EarthLink acquired Business Vitals, a national provider of managed IT security, and professional services, in an effort to complement its cloud hosting services.[46] EarthLink also acquired xDefenders, a managed IT security company.[47]

EarthLink closed 2011 with another business-related acquisition, completing the purchase of the IT Solution Center and cloud-based application business from Synergy Global Solutions.[48]

In July, 2013, EarthLink acquired CenterBeam, Inc., a provider of remote managed IT services -- with an IT Support Center providing help desk, desktop technical support and application support services -- to expand EarthLnk’s IT services portfolio and extend the services nationwide in conjunction with its cloud, security and network connectivity solutions.[49]

EarthLink Business Network and Data Center Expansion[edit]

In 2012 the company expanded and upgraded its network infrastructure. The network expansion included major transport network builds, new OC-192 10 Gigabit Ethernet fiber rings, additional high-speed access points for private VoIP network traffic, nationwide IP MPLS and EVDO wireless network expansions, and high-capacity fiber rings for its enterprise-class data centers.[50]

In October 2012, EarthLink announced additional plans to extend its core fiber IP network, add four enterprise-class data centers and launch its next-generation cloud hosting platform in 2013.[51]

To interconnect its expanded data center footprint, EarthLink is extending its fiber network and adding next-generation optical transport capabilities from Miami, FL to Virginia. The company is also increasing network capacity in current markets including Ashburn, Atlanta, Charlotte, and Orlando; adding seven new markets including Austin, Dallas, San Antonio and Houston; and building its fiber network into Texas. The additional capacity will allow EarthLink to offer new native 100 Gig transport services across a diverse fiber footprint, with unique network routes for enhanced redundancy and network diversity.

In July, 2013, EarthLink completed its previously announced plans to open four new data centers in San Jose, Chicago, Dallas and Miami on its next-generation cloud platform. Combined with its data centers in Pittsford, NY; Marlborough, MA; Columbia, SC and Atlanta, EarthLink now operates eight data centers linked to its nationwide IP network.[52]

Awards and Recognition[edit]

Reed Slatkin[edit]

In 2002, when co-founder Reed Slatkin's Ponzi scheme made headlines,[62] EarthLink released a statement: "The legal proceedings concerning ex-Board member Reed Slatkin do not involve or impact EarthLink or EarthLink funds. The proceedings involve Mr. Slatkin and his personal clients."[63]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Earthlink Business Services". Telecom Company Profiles. Retrieved March 21, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "About Us". EarthLink. Retrieved January 7, 2012. 
  3. ^ Borland, John. "The ultimate ISP survivor faces a crossroads in broadband". Cnet. 
  4. ^ "EarthLink Inc". Retrieved January 11, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Earthlink Inc". Retrieved January 11, 2012. 
  8. ^ Kaplan, Karen. "EarthLink, MindSpring Agree to Merge : Technology: The combination would create 2nd-largest Internet service provider.". Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  9. ^ "IDG's PC World Announces 2000 World Class Award Winners". PR Newswire. Retrieved January 11, 2012. 
  10. ^ Rural Connections (February 23, 2001). "IMPORTANT - Information on Your Rural Connections Account". Retrieved December 2, 2012. 
  11. ^ "EarthLink launches satellite Internet service". CNN Tech. Retrieved January 11, 2012. 
  12. ^ "EarthLink offers DSL users fixed IP address option". Macworld. Retrieved January 11, 2012. 
  13. ^ a b "EarthLink's History". Retrieved January 11, 2012. 
  14. ^ "J.D. Power and Associates Reports: EarthLink Ranks Highest in Customer Satisfaction Among Dial-Up Internet Service Providers. Source:". All Business. Retrieved January 11, 2012. 
  15. ^ "EarthLink Introduces EarthLink Unlimited Voice Broadband Telephone Service; EarthLink Becomes First Major Nationwide ISP to Deploy Full-Scale Voice-over- IP Solution to End-Users". The Free Library. Retrieved January 11, 2012. 
  16. ^ "EarthLink High Speed Internet Service Ranked Highest in Customer Satisfaction By J.D. Power and Associates". Retrieved January 11, 2012. 
  17. ^ "EarthLink Launches Virus Blocker". PR Newswire. Retrieved January 11, 2012. 
  18. ^ "J.D. Power: Customers rank EarthLink as top ISP". CED. Retrieved January 11, 2012. 
  19. ^ "South Korea: SK Telecom Goes LTE". Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  20. ^ "EarthLink announces joint venture with SK Telecom". Wireless Industry News. Retrieved January 11, 2012. 
  21. ^ Reardon, Marguerite. "Virgin Mobile USA buys Helio for $39 million". Cnet. Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  22. ^ Husted, Bill (July 26, 2005). "EarthLink to cut 180 customer service workers Work to be outsourced overseas". Atlanta Journal Constitution. 
  23. ^ "Philadelphia Picks EarthLink for Wi-Fi". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 11, 2012. 
  24. ^ "EarthLink wins second muni Wi-Fi contract". Connected Planet. Retrieved January 11, 2012. 
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  34. ^
  35. ^ Leith, Scott (October 20, 2006). "Quarterly Loss Drives EarthLink's Stock Down". Atlanta Journal Constitution. 
  36. ^ Reardon, Marguerite. "EarthLink to lay off 900". Cnet. Retrieved January 11, 2012. 
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  38. ^ Holverson, Austin (28 April 2013). "Earthlink Business Names Telarus Top Partner of 2012". Telecom Channel Updates. Retrieved 28 April 2013. 
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  40. ^ "EarthLink Buys Telecom Services Company One Communications For $370 Million". Techrunch. Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  41. ^ "EarthLink Completes Acquisition of STS Telecom Adds Hosted VoIP Expertise to EarthLink Business Product Portfolio". Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  42. ^ "EarthLink launches EarthLink Carrier". Atlanta Business Chronicle. Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  43. ^ "EarthLink Acquires". Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  44. ^ "". Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
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  46. ^ "EarthLink Completes Acquisition of IT Solution Center from Synergy Global Solutions". Yahoo Finance. Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  47. ^ Couret, Jacques. "EarthLink acquires CenterBeam". Atlanta Business Chronicle. Retrieved 8 August 2013. 
  48. ^ "EarthLink Announces Network Expansion and Enhancements for Scalability and Growth". ThomasNet News. Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  49. ^ Galbraith, Craig. "EarthLink To Extend Fiber Network, Data Center Coverage Area". Channel Partners. Retrieved 1 February 2013. 
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  51. ^ "EarthLink Ranks Among Fastest Growing Cloud Service Providers in Annual Talkin' Cloud 100 Report". IT Business Net. Retrieved 8 August 2013. 
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  54. ^ "2013: Top 501 Managed Services Providers List". MSPmentor. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  55. ^ "Announcing the 2012 INTERNET TELEPHONY Product of the Year Award Winners". TMC News. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
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  60. ^ Tkacik, Maureen (March 27, 2002). "EarthLink Co-Founder Slatkin Admits to Fraud in Ponzi Scheme". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved April 17, 2009. 


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