Ex-MediaOne Subs Face Yet Another Data Switch

AT&T Broadband has completed the migration of its cable-modem customers from Excite@Home Corp.'s network to one of its own, but another switch looms for 630,000 customers in former MediaOne Group Inc. territories.

These customers — who were converted from Road Runner to Excite@Home service after AT&T Corp. acquired MediaOne and combined it with Broadband — had kept their @mediaone.net electronic-mail domain names. But that's about to change, as AT&T Broadband has settled a lawsuit that a Midwestern ad agency had filed against MediaOne.

The ad firm claimed rights to the mediaone.net domain name, and under settlement terms, AT&T Broadband must relinquish it by March 15.

Customers who had @mediaone.net accounts will be assigned addresses within the @attbi.com domain. Messages to their former addresses will be forwarded through March 15.

AT&T has a list of customers who will need new user names because their e-mail name matches that of an existing @attbi.com customer.

"We are doing an extra special notification for those guys," said Broadband director of external communications Sarah Eder.

As with fellow AT&T Broadband cable modem customers, mediaone.net customers also saw their content change when Excite@Home cut off service Dec. 1. But the mediaone.net customers now see content from Yahoo! Inc. rather than AT&T WorldNet because of "a technical issue at the time of the migration from Excite@Home to WorldNet," Eder said.

AT&T Broadband has not yet decided if these customers will be switched to AT&T WorldNet content, she added.

But AT&T Broadband is offering some sugar with that medicine. The MSO mailed letters to all cable modem customers who have endured the @Home transition, offering $140 in free game downloads from RealNetworks Inc. and a $10 gift certificate for online shopping outlet eBags.com.

"It's just a token of thanks for loyalty and patience," Eder said.

Meanwhile, most of remaining MSO affiliates are well on their way down the Excite@Home off-ramp:

  • Insight Communications Co. will be the last major MSO to make the switch from Feb. 16 to Feb. 18. Insight has sent out electronic mails and letters to its 75,000 cable-modem customers, notifying them of their specific transition date and providing a URL to the site where reconfiguration software is available, said corporate communications director Kim Messina.
    When the transition takes place, Messina said, the pre-installed software will activate and recognize the new network settings.
  • Comcast Corp. has completed the transition in 90 to 95 percent of its territory, with roughly 900,000 customers switched over. Last week, the MSO converted customers in its home base of Philadelphia. The move cost the company in the fourth quarter, carving an extra $140 million from its cash flow.
  • Cox Communications Inc. has switched about 99 percent of its customer data traffic to its own network. A little more than 60 percent of customers have set up their Cox electronic-mail account and services, said public relations manager Susan Leepson.

"We recognize that we might never hit that 100 percent mark, because there are some folks that use us for connectivity rather than for our e-mail services as well," she noted.