EarthLink seeks 'strategic alternatives' for wireless


ATLANTA -- EarthLink Inc., one of the chief evangelists of blanketing cities with wireless Internet service, said Friday is going to consider "strategic alternatives" for that business.

EarthLink said Friday that after a review, the company "decided that making significant further investments in this business could be inconsistent with our objective of maximizing shareholder value," chief executive Rolla Huff said in a statement.

The company said it is looking at "strategic alternatives" for the business, but did not disclose what those might be. The company said it would work closely with cities like Philadelphia on its existing projects as it considers the alternatives.

Cities have been finding their projects costing more and drawing less interest from residential customers than expected, and service providers paying for them have been questioning whether the networks will generate enough revenue to justify the multimillion-dollar investments to build and maintain them.

EarthLink had been gradually scaling back its ambitions as it decided it can no longer afford to foot the bill by itself.

EarthLink said the business is worth about $40 million.

EarthLink shares gained 5 cents to $7.32 in after-hours trading, after finishing regular trading at $7.27.