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Excite@Home customers in limbo

A judge on Friday ordered Excite@Home to turn off its high-speed Internet
cable service as of midnight.

It was an action that put four million customers in `Web limbo.'

With his decision, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Carlson in San Francisco
was betting that the deadline would motivate Excite@Home and major cable
companies to hammer out new pacts.

The companies were said to be talking on Friday, according to Reuters.

Previously, Excite@Home said under the current contracts, it was losing $6
million a week.

Holders of Excite@Home's junk bonds - and they're all junk bonds at this
point - used the shut-off threat to squeeze more money out of the cable
operators, particularly majority shareholders AT&T Broadband, Comcast and

AT&T has offered $307 million to buy the network assets.

But bondholders and trade creditors -- to whom more than $1.5 billion is owed
-- want more.

At worst, if no eleventh-hour deal comes, Excite@Home cable Internet
customers could be out of the service for weeks.

At best, they would lose their e-mail addresses, a problem that cable execs
earlier acknowledged will send customers screaming. - John Higgins