EarthLink Company Brief

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Company Brief

by Faulkner Staff

Docid: 00017417

Publication Date: 2112

Report Type: VENDOR


EarthLink is a provider of Internet access, premium e-mail, Web hosting, and
privacy and data security services. The firm focuses on offering Internet services, digital
marketing offerings, and security and data-backup tools for residential and
business customers with a potential outreach to 78 percent of households in the
contiguous US. This brief takes an in-depth look
at EarthLink’s operations.

Report Contents:

Fast Facts

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Name: EarthLink
980 Hammond Drive NE, Suite 400
Atlanta, Georgia 30328
Tel: (404) 815-0770
Type of Vendor: Internet services, Web services
Founded: 1994
Service Areas: US and Canada


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EarthLink is a formerly independent property that now operates as a division
of Trive Capital, which purchased it from Windstream for $330 million in January
2019. This amount, it should be noted, was significantly less than the $1.1
billion spent by Windstream to acquire the property just two years prior.
Despite the loss of access to Windstream’s network presence in the US, EarthLink revealed in mid-2019 that
it still expanded its Internet and online services network coverage by 19
million households, hitting 67 million US homes. The company’s network has the
potential to reach 78 percent of the households in the contiguous states. The company currently focuses
on offering:

  • HyperLink Internet services (residential and business)
  • Business Tool digital marketing services (business)
  • Secure security and data-backup tools (residential and business)


EarthLink was incorporated in the state of Delaware in 2013.
Prior to that time, it served as an ISP that delivered Internet access and related services to
individual and business customers throughout the US and Canada. Over the years, its offerings
expanded to include Web-based hosting and e-commerce
services through a nationwide network of dial-up points-of-presence (POPs), as
well as broadband, satellite, and wireless
technology. Significant items of interest from its history have included:

  • 1994 – Is officially established.
  • 1996 – Expands its small and medium-sized business market presence with business-class
    Internet access and Web hosting services for businesses.
  • 2006 – Acquires New Edge Networks, a provider of managed IP-based
    network technology.
  • 2010 – Purchases ITC^DeltaCom and One
    Communications, giving
    it a network and communications provider presence for business
    customers … Enters into other strategic transactions to compliment its
    business services and expand its IT services portfolio.
  • 2013 – Extends its core fiber IP network and IT solutions footprint
    with additional data centers and a cloud hosting platform … Acquires CenterBeam to expand its IT services portfolio.
  • 2015 – Appoints Olen Scott as Channel Chief and VP, Channel Sales;
    Gerard Brossard as EVP and Managing Director, Managed Services and Information
    Technology; Bradley Ferguson as EVP and Managing Director, Small Business and
    Consumer; and Louis Alterman as EVP and CFO … Reports quarterly net losses
    totaling $10.5 million for the third quarter.
  • 2016 – Announces that it would be acquired by Windstream by
    mid-2017, for $1.1 billion.
  • 2017 – Is officially acquired by Windstream in February.
  • 2018 – Restructures its portfolio amidst the departure of John
    Dobbs, EarthLink’s last remaining executive with Windstream.
  • 2019 – Is acquired by Dallas private equity firm Trive Capital.

  • 2020

    – Releases EasyTech remote technical services, Guardian
    content-management and screen-time management services, and Protect and
    Protect+ all-in-one protection products for connected devices.

  • 2021

    – Introduces EarthLink Mobile, a low budget, contractless mobile phone service.


EarthLink’s Internet access, premium e-mail, Web hosting, and privacy and
data security services are targeted toward five million US customers. A key tenet of
its strategy is its relationships with several of the "largest providers," which
allow it to offer products and connectivity services to 67 million more.

Key Executives

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EarthLink’s leadership includes:

  • Glenn Goad – Chief Executive Officer
  • Mike Toplisek – President
  • Mike Borellis – Chief Financial Officer
  • Cathie Costello – Chief of Staff, Executive & Administration
  • Leon Hounshell – Chief Product Officer
  • Brian McLaughlin – Chief Operating Officer
  • Bobby Nix – Chief Digital Officer
  • Christopher Roy – Chief Strategy Officer
  • Scott Klinger – Senior Vice President, Human Resources and Marketing
  • Brigitte Wright-Roy – Senior Vice President, Customer Operations
  • Jena Dunham – Vice President, Marketing

Major Products

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EarthLink’s primary product and services portfolio is detailed
in Table 1.

Table 1.
Product and Services Portfolio
Category Product / Service
HyperLink Internet plans, including residential Internet with speeds of up to
1Gbps and no data caps
Mobile EarthLink Mobile, with a variety of contractless, budget-line phone
plans featuring unlimited text/talk, 5G network, and unlimited calling
to more than 30 countries
Business Tool Digital marketing services for small business, including business
Internet, Web site development, custom branding, Find My Business, and
reputation management
Digital Marketing Web development, custom branding, Find My Business, and reputation
management services
Security and Tools Tools to protect data, including Protect and Protect+, Guardian,
EasyTech, Backup

Major Competitors

Primary competitors in the Internet access industry include national
communications carriers and local exchange carriers such as AT&T, Lumen
and Verizon Communications; cable companies that provide broadband access such
as Charter Communications, Comcast, and Cox Communications; local and regional
ISPs; content companies; e-mail providers such as Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo
(formerly Verizon
Media); and other satellite and fixed wireless service providers.

Recent Activity

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Recent EarthLink news items have included:

In September 2020, EarthLink filed a complaint in the New York State Supreme Court
against Charter Communications and its Spectrum brand for engaging in a scheme to
mislead EarthLink service subscribers to switch Internet providers. EarthLink claims
that Charter falsely informed EarthLink customers, among other things, that
(a) EarthLink is “out of business”; (b) Charter has “taken over” EarthLink; and
(c) EarthLink Internet service “wasn’t available” in markets where it was. “These
false statements have reduced connectivity options for customers when they need it
most, damaged EarthLink’s reputation and brand, and directly resulted in lost
customers,” EarthLink stated in a company statement. EarthLink says that Charter
made these claims to customers in order to convince them to switch providers before
a contract between Charter and Earthlink ended. That contract began at the time of
the merger between AOL and Time Warner in 2000 and allowed EarthLink to sell its
branded high-speed data service over Time Warner’s (now Charter’s) cable network.

Chris Roy was named Executive Vice President of Business Services in January 2021
to lead EarthLink’s wholesale initiatives and launch the company’s new Business Services
division. Previously, Roy spent two decades with AT&T where he held various executive
leadership roles in the global public sector, business marketing, and operations,
eventaully leading the Wholesale and Partner Exchange channels.

In September 2021, the company announced the expansion of its Customer Service Division
with a new customer support center in Wise County, Virginia. EarthLink plans to expand its
present operation in Norton, Virginia, with a newly constructed 30,000-square-foot facility
that is expected to bring more than 500 jobs to the area. The project is slated for completion
in 2024.

In October 2021, the firm launched EarthLink Mobile, a new mobile phone offering providing
nationwide 5G and 4G LTE wireless coverage with flexible data plans. Several low-cost, contractless
options are available, basic talk and text up to unlimited data. Customers can switch plans
whenever they want without penalty, and the service includes free international calling to more
than 30 countries in most plans.


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