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EarthLink was formed in 1994. It currently operates two divisions: EarthLink Business and EarthLink Consumer.
EarthLink Business sells communications, IT and virtualization, cloud computing, IT security, colocation, hosted applications and support services. 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 United States. EarthLink Business has more than 150,000 customers.
EarthLink's Consumer division sells broadband (DSL/freestanding DSL, cable internet, 4G Internet, Satellite Internet) dial-up Internet, Web hosting and commerce, and related services. It also sells spamBlocker, Anti-virus and Online Back-up. Earthlink internet services claim over 1 million customers.
EarthLink was co-founded in March 1994 by Sky Dayton then 23, investor Reed Slatkin and Kevin M. O'Donnell. Dayton reportedly was inspired to start the dial-upInternet service provider (ISP) in Pasadena, CA 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.
Co-founder Kevin M. O'Donnell helped raise capital for the venture and urged a number of significant old friends from his government technology days to join the Board. He recruited numerous Vice Presidents for the company, and brought in the first major round of funding, from Greg B. Abbott (a successful entrepreneur and former CEO of Ithaca Industries). He also hired CEO Garry Betty
By 1995, EarthLink offered dial-up service in 98 cities, and was one of the first U.S. ISPs to offer "unlimited" Internet access for a flat rate.
In 1996, EarthLink began to offer Internet services for businesses, including ISDN and frame relay Internet access and web hosting. In October, EarthLink was named “Internet Company of the Year” by the Southern California Software Industry Council.
EarthLink Goes Public, Reaches 1 Million Customers
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.
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.
MindSpring Merger, Other Products
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.
Later that year, the company launched EarthLink Biz DSL service and won PC World’s World Class Award for Best ISP. EarthLink also acquired OneMain.com, a large, rural ISP, and Rural Connections in 2001.
On June 10, 2002, EarthLink acquired PeoplePC, a low-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. 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.
EarthLink launched a VoIP phone service for broadband users called Unlimited Voice in April 2003. In August, J.D. Power and Associates ranked EarthLink High Speed Highest in Customer Satisfaction for the second consecutive year. The company also released several free tools for its members to block spam, viruses, and spyware.
In September 2004, J.D. Power and Associates ranked both EarthLink Dial-Up and EarthLink High Speed Highest in Customer Satisfaction. EarthLink Dial-Up also received the PC Magazine Readers’ Choice Award for the second year in a row.
At the start of 2005, EarthLink and SK Telecom, the largest mobile phone company in South Korea, announced a new joint venture called SK-EarthLink, later renamed Helio mobile phone company. 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.
In July 2005, EarthLink closed its in-house call centers to reduce costs.
In September, 2005, Earthlink acquired Aluria Software, LLC-a seller of Anti-Spyware software, based in Lake Mary, Florida.
In October 2005, Philadelphia, PA, and Anaheim, CA, selected EarthLink to build their municipal Wi-Fi networks. EarthLink's Municipal Networks division would launch public wi-fi networks in Anaheim, Philadelphia, New Orleans, and Milpitas, CA, and win several more municipal contracts before EarthLink decided to exit the muni wi-fi business by the end of 2007.
EarthLink launched two new voice services between late 2005 and early 2006: a VoIP service called EarthLink trueVoice and a high-speed Internet and voice bundle called EarthLink DSL & Home Phone Service.
In April 2006, EarthLink acquired New Edge Networks, a provider of network and communication services for businesses. In June, the EarthLink’s Municipal Networks division launched the company’s first citywide Wi-Fi network in Anaheim, CA.
In September 2014, EarthLink forged a partnership with Tech Data to provide a Desktop as a Service cloud offering.
New EarthLink Business Division, Business Acquisitions
In October, 2010, EarthLink acquired ITC Deltacom, a telecom service provider with 32,000 customers.
In December 2010 EarthLink acquired One Communications, one of the largest privately held integrated telecom solutions providers in the U.S.
In March 2011 EarthLink also acquired STS Telecom, a privately held business in Florida and Georgia. 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 for wholesale customers with fiber-based transport, voice and data service, and switched services.
Also in May, EarthLink acquired LogicalSolutions.net, an enterprise data center solution and cloud services provider.
In August EarthLink acquired Business Vitals, a provider of IT security and professional services. EarthLink also acquired xDefenders, a managed IT security company.
EarthLink also purchased IT Solution Center and cloud-based application business from Synergy Global Solutions in 2011.
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.
EarthLink Business Network and Data Center Expansion
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. This brought its total to eight.
On November 21, 2006, EarthLink reported in a press release that its CEO, Garry Betty, was 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. 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. In January, 2014, Joseph F. Eazor replaced Rolla Huff as President and CEO.