AT&T still working to restore Internet access to ExciteAtHome users

By Colleen Valles, Associated Press Writer
Monday December 03, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO – At least 16 percent of customers on ExciteAtHome’s high-speed Internet service were without access Sunday, after the bankrupt company cut off service to AT&T Broadband subscribers. 

AT&T had restored service to more than a third of its customers – about 226,000 subscribers – and moved them to its own network. The company said it could take as long as 10 days to restore service to its 640,000 other subscribers across the United States. AT&T transferred most of its customers in the Northwest Saturday and moved customers in Texas Sunday. The company hopes to move the rest next week. 

Deanna Bruggemann, an AT&T Broadband customer who lives in Livermore, about 45 miles southeast of San Francisco, has been without Internet access since 12:01 a.m. Saturday. She said she appreciated the call from AT&T telling her what was happening with her service. 

“That kind of made me feel better, because the first thing you think is your computer crashed,” she said. 

Bruggemann, an insurance agent, said the computers in her office have DSL, so they’re not affected. 

“I miss my Internet,” she said. “When you’re so used to not having dial-up, the thought of having to go back – no way! They better figure out something.” 

Service to other cable companies that sold Internet access through ExciteAtHome’s network, including Cox Communications and Rogers, had not been cut off. ExciteAtHome has more than 4 million subscribers. 

John Tory, president and chief executive of Rogers Communications, said the company’s 425,000 customers using ExciteAtHome had not lost service. A message on Comcast’s consumer hot line said Sunday that the company had not lost service. 

Calls to ExciteAtHome were not immediately returned Sunday. 

Bankruptcy Judge Thomas Carlson gave Redwood City-based ExciteAtHome permission to cancel existing contracts with cable companies after concluding they had become “clearly burdensome” to the company. ExciteAtHome executives said they were costing the company up to $6 million per week. 

ExciteAtHome wanted the cable companies to pay substantially higher fees to connect to its network. Until ExciteAtHome’s bankruptcy, the cable companies had been paying a monthly fee of $12 per subscriber.