Any hope of an 11th hour deal between battered broadband provider Excite At Home Corp. and AT&T Corp. was scuttled late Tuesday when Excite officials said the carrier had dropped its $300 million bid for the Internet access business.
With sales talks off and no other suitor in sight, Excite said it had reached a transition agreement with several of its other cable providers and expected to cease operations and pull the plug on remaining subscribers on Feb. 28, 2002.
AT&T backed out of the deal after contentious negotitations resulted in the termination last weekend of Internet access services to some 800,000 AT&T subscribers connected to the Excite network.
Excite At Home, of Redwood City, Calif., did reach an agreement with Comcast Cable Communications Inc., Cox Communications Inc., Rogers Cable Inc., Insight Communications Co. L.P., Insight Communications Midwest LLC and Insight Kentucky Partners II L.P., Mediacom LLC and Mediacom Broadband LLC and Mid Continent Communications to provide continued service until the February termination date. The transition deal is subject to Excite At Homes bankruptcy proceedings. Excite At Home filed for Chapter 11 protection in September.
In exchange for keeping their customers connected, the cable outfits agreed to pay Excite At Home $355 million, which the provider can access immediately, company officials said.
The failure of Excite At Home will have no effect on the popular excite.com Web page. According to a message posted on the portal site, “You may have recently read about issues with [Excite At Home]s broadband service. Dont worry. Excite.com and the broadband service are operated completely separately.”