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EarthLink Holding Corp.
Industry Managed network and cloud services provider, and ISP
Founded 1994
Founders Sky Dayton, Reed Slatkin[1][2]
Headquarters Atlanta, Georgia
Key people
Joseph F. Eazor
Products Full suite of managed network, plus Consumer ISP
Revenue IncreaseUS$1.2 billion (2013)
Number of employees
2,100+ (2015)[3]
Website EarthLink Business,

EarthLink is an IT services, network and communications provider headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. The company serves more than 150,000 businesses and 1 million U.S. consumers.[3]


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. EarthLink Business has more than 150,000 customers.[4]

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.[4]

EarthLink has transformed itself from an ISP and aspiring municipal wireless company into a MSP.[5]


Early years[edit]

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-up Internet 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.[6]

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.[7]

In 1996, EarthLink began to offer Internet services for businesses, including ISDN and frame relay Internet access[8] and web hosting.[9] In October, EarthLink was named “Internet Company of the Year” by the Southern California Software Industry Council.[10]

Initial public offering[edit]

EarthLink went public on NASDAQ in January 1997. Later that year, the company began to provide 56K dial-up access, doubling speed of its dial-up service. EarthLink also teamed up with Charter Communications to offer high-speed cable Internet access.[11]

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.[7]

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.[7]

MindSpring merger and other acquisitions[edit]

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.[12]

Later that year, the company launched EarthLink Biz DSL service and won PC World’s World Class Award for Best ISP.[13] EarthLink also acquired, a large, rural ISP, and Rural Connections in 2001.[14]

In 2001, EarthLink partnered with DirecPC to offer a 2-way satellite Internet service.[15] The company also introduced a fixed-IP DSL service for the SOHO business market.[16]

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.[17] 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.[18]

EarthLink launched a VoIP phone service for broadband users called Unlimited Voice in April 2003.[19] In August, J.D. Power and Associates ranked EarthLink High Speed Highest in Customer Satisfaction for the second consecutive year.[20] The company also released several free tools for its members to block spam, viruses, and spyware.[21]

In September 2004, J.D. Power and Associates ranked both EarthLink Dial-Up and EarthLink High Speed Highest in Customer Satisfaction.[22] EarthLink Dial-Up also received the PC Magazine Readers’ Choice Award for the second year in a row.[17]

New ventures[edit]

At the start of 2005, EarthLink and SK Telecom, the largest mobile phone company in South Korea,[23] announced a new joint venture called SK-EarthLink, later renamed Helio mobile phone company.[24] 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.[25]

In July 2005, EarthLink closed its in-house call centers to reduce costs.[26]

In September 2005, Earthlink acquired Aluria Software, LLC-a seller of Anti-Spyware software, based in Lake Mary, Florida.

In October 2005, Philadelphia, PA,[27] and Anaheim, CA, selected EarthLink to build their municipal Wi-Fi networks.[28] EarthLink's Municipal Networks division would launch public wi-fi networks in Anaheim, Philadelphia, New Orleans, and Milpitas, CA,[29] and win several more municipal contracts before EarthLink decided to exit the muni wi-fi business by the end of 2007.[30]

EarthLink launched two new voice services between late 2005 and early 2006: a VoIP service called EarthLink trueVoice[31] and a high-speed Internet and voice bundle called EarthLink DSL & Home Phone Service.[32]

In April 2006, EarthLink acquired New Edge Networks, a provider of network and communication services for businesses.[33] In June, the EarthLink’s Municipal Networks division launched the company’s first citywide Wi-Fi network in Anaheim, CA.[34]

In September 2014, EarthLink forged a partnership with Tech Data to provide a Desktop as a Service cloud offering.[35]

New business acquisitions[edit]

In October 2010, EarthLink acquired ITC Deltacom, a telecom service provider with 32,000 customers.[36]

In December 2010 EarthLink acquired One Communications, one of the largest privately held integrated telecom solutions providers in the U.S.[37]

In March 2011 EarthLink also acquired STS Telecom, a privately held business in Florida and Georgia.[38] 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.[39]

Also in May, EarthLink acquired, an enterprise data center solution and cloud services provider.[40]

In August EarthLink acquired Business Vitals, a provider of IT security and professional services.[41] EarthLink also acquired xDefenders, a managed IT security company.[42]

EarthLink also purchased IT Solution Center and cloud-based application business from Synergy Global Solutions in 2011.[43]

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.[44]

Business network and data center expansion[edit]

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.[45][46] 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.[47] In January 2014, Joseph F. Eazor replaced Rolla Huff as President and CEO.[48]


In February 2016 a journalist from USA Today wrote that his EarthLink E-Mail account got compromised during a flight while using the in-flight WLAN.[49] This was possible because EarthLink does not use TLS encryption for the login on its POP3 services. However, customers can use encryption services on IMAP or through EarthLink’s Web Mail if desired.[50]

Industry awards and recognition[edit]

  • Earthlink TechCare recognized with 2014 ACE (Achievement in Customer Excellence) Award for Best Use of Feedback Solutions - May 2014
  • For 2nd year running, EarthLink named the #1 global MSP (Managed Service Provider) for 2013 by MSPmentor.
  • EarthLink ranked 15th among the world's Top 25 Fastest Growing Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) in Nine Lives Media's Talkin' Cloud 100 report - July 2013[51]
  • EarthLink won the 2013 North American Business Connectivity Award from ATLANTIC-ACM - June 2013[52]
  • CenterBeam, an EarthLink Business company, won a Silver Stevie® award from the American Business Awards (ABA) in June 2013.[53]
  • EarthLink was named the #1 global MSP (Managed Service Provider) for 2013 by MSPmentor.[54]
  • EarthLink Hosted Voice was named 2012 Product of the Year by INTERNET TELEPHONY.[55]
  • EarthLink Business Cloud Hosting won the 2012 Cloud Computing Excellence Award from Cloud Computing Magazine.[56]
  • EarthLink's nationwide, private, blended-access MPLS network was awarded a 2012 Next Generation Networks Leadership Award by Internet Telephony and Next Gen Mobility magazines.[57]
  • EarthLink Complete Hosted Voice and EarthLink Complete MPLS were awarded Communications Solutions Product of the Year Award for 2012 by TMC.[58]
  • The EarthLink Complete Hosted Voice and EarthLink Complete SIP Trunking were recipients of TMCnet's 2011 Internet Telephony Product of the Year Award for Innovation.[59]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Staff (March 27, 2002). "Earthlink co-founder charged with fraud, money laundering". CNN. Time Warner. Retrieved June 12, 2008. 
  2. ^ Tkacik, Maureen (March 27, 2002). "EarthLink Co-Founder Slatkin Admits to Fraud in Ponzi Scheme". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved June 11, 2008. 
  3. ^ a b "About Us". EarthLink. Retrieved January 7, 2012. 
  4. ^ "EarthLink Inc. Overview by Bizofit". 
  5. ^ Borland, John. "The ultimate ISP survivor faces a crossroads in broadband". Cnet. 
  6. ^ "EarthLink Inc". Retrieved January 11, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Earthlink Inc". Retrieved January 11, 2012. 
  10. ^ Kaplan, Karen. "EarthLink, MindSpring Agree to Merge : Technology: The combination would create 2nd-largest Internet service provider.". Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  11. ^ "IDG's PC World Announces 2000 World Class Award Winners". PR Newswire. Retrieved January 11, 2012. 
  12. ^ Rural Connections (February 23, 2001). "IMPORTANT - Information on Your Rural Connections Account". Retrieved December 2, 2012. 
  13. ^ "EarthLink launches satellite Internet service". CNN Tech. Retrieved January 11, 2012. 
  14. ^ "EarthLink offers DSL users fixed IP address option". Macworld. Retrieved January 11, 2012. 
  15. ^ a b "EarthLink's History". Retrieved January 11, 2012. 
  16. ^ "J.D. Power and Associates Reports: EarthLink Ranks Highest in Customer Satisfaction Among Dial-Up Internet Service Providers. Source:". All Business. Retrieved January 11, 2012.  External link in |title= (help)
  17. ^ "EarthLink Introduces EarthLink Unlimited Voice Broadband Telephone Service; EarthLink Becomes First Major Nationwide ISP to Deploy Full-Scale Voice-over- IP Solution to End-Users". The Free Library. Retrieved January 11, 2012. 
  18. ^ "EarthLink High Speed Internet Service Ranked Highest in Customer Satisfaction By J.D. Power and Associates". Retrieved January 11, 2012. 
  19. ^ "EarthLink Launches Virus Blocker". PR Newswire. Retrieved January 11, 2012. 
  20. ^ "J.D. Power: Customers rank EarthLink as top ISP". CED. Retrieved January 11, 2012. 
  21. ^ "South Korea: SK Telecom Goes LTE". Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  22. ^ "EarthLink announces joint venture with SK Telecom". Wireless Industry News. Retrieved January 11, 2012. 
  23. ^ Reardon, Marguerite. "Virgin Mobile USA buys Helio for $39 million". Cnet. Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  24. ^ Husted, Bill (July 26, 2005). "EarthLink to cut 180 customer service workers Work to be outsourced overseas". Atlanta Journal Constitution. 
  25. ^ "Philadelphia Picks EarthLink for Wi-Fi". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 11, 2012. 
  26. ^ "EarthLink wins second muni Wi-Fi contract". Connected Planet. Retrieved January 11, 2012. 
  27. ^ Reardon, Marguerite. "EarthLink rolls out more citywide Wi-Fi". Cnet. Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  28. ^ "Philadelphia Wi-Fi project now in jeopardy, EarthLink may back out". Beta News. Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  29. ^ "Earthlink launches trueVoice a national broadband VoIP service". Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  30. ^ "Earthlink Launches DSL, VOIP". Light Reading. Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  31. ^ "EarthLink Acquires Virtual Private Network Company, New Edge Networks". The Hosting News. Retrieved January 11, 2012. 
  32. ^ "EarthLink Launches The City Of Anaheim Municipal Wireless Network". PR Newswire. Retrieved January 11, 2012. 
  33. ^ "Tech Data and EarthLink Form Cloud Partnership". Retrieved September 16, 2014. 
  34. ^ "EarthLink to Acquire Deltacom for $516M". Fox Business. Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  35. ^ "EarthLink Buys Telecom Services Company One Communications For $370 Million". Techrunch. Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  36. ^ "EarthLink Completes Acquisition of STS Telecom Adds Hosted VoIP Expertise to EarthLink Business Product Portfolio". Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  37. ^ "EarthLink launches EarthLink Carrier". Atlanta Business Chronicle. Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  38. ^ "EarthLink Acquires". Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  39. ^ "". Retrieved January 12, 2012.  External link in |title= (help)
  40. ^ "EarthLink acquires xDefenders". TelecomPaper. Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  41. ^ "EarthLink Completes Acquisition of IT Solution Center from Synergy Global Solutions". Yahoo Finance. Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  42. ^ Couret, Jacques. "EarthLink acquires CenterBeam". Atlanta Business Chronicle. Retrieved August 8, 2013. 
  43. ^ Keefe, Bob. "EarthLink: Illness Drives Leader Shuffle." Atlanta Journal-Constitution. November 22, 2006. Business Section 1C.
  44. ^ Roberts, Paul F (January 3, 2007). "EarthLink CEO Betty dead at 49". InfoWorld. Retrieved January 3, 2007. 
  45. ^ Gaffikin, Brigid (January 28, 2008). "EarthLink names CEO Rolla Huff board chair". Retrieved March 7, 2008. 
  46. ^ Matthew Daneman, Staff writer (December 23, 2013). "EarthLink CEO Rolla Huff retires". Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. Retrieved June 3, 2015. 
  47. ^ Steven Petrow (February 23, 2016). "I got hacked mid-air while writing an Apple-FBI story". Retrieved March 9, 2016. 
  48. ^ Robert Graham (February 24, 2016). "Early Internet services considered harmful". Retrieved March 9, 2016. 
  49. ^ "EarthLink Ranks Among Fastest Growing Cloud Service Providers in Annual Talkin' Cloud 100 Report". IT Business Net. Retrieved August 8, 2013. 
  50. ^ "ATLANTIC-ACM Delivers 2013 North American Business Connectivity Awards". ATLANTIC-ACM. Retrieved August 8, 2013. 
  51. ^ "CenterBeam Honored as Silver Stevie(R) Award Winner in 2013 American Business Awards(SM)". Yahoo Finance. Retrieved August 8, 2013. 
  52. ^ "2013: Top 501 Managed Services Providers List". MSPmentor. Retrieved March 6, 2013. 
  53. ^ "Announcing the 2012 INTERNET TELEPHONY Product of the Year Award Winners". TMC News. Retrieved March 6, 2013. 
  54. ^ O'Connor, Pamela. "EarthLink Earns Awards from Miami Latin Chamber of Commerce, Cloud Computing magazine". EarthLink. Retrieved February 1, 2013. 
  55. ^ "2012 NGN Leadership Award Winners Announced by INTERNET TELPHONY Magazine". TMCnet News. Retrieved February 1, 2013. 
  56. ^ "EarthLink Recognized with Product of the Year and Leadership Awards". EarthLink. Retrieved February 1, 2013. 
  57. ^ Oborn, Patrick. "EarthLink Business Earns Two Product of the Year Awards for Innovation". Telarus Telecom Industry News. Retrieved February 29, 2012. 


External links[edit]