Earthlink (Nasdaq: ELNK) may be synonymous with consumer dial up and related broadband services, but in more recent years through Rolla Huff's leadership, it's clear the service providers ambitions go far beyond providing basic Internet access. One area of growing focus for the Huff-led Earthlink is the evolving competitive telecom business market.
Huff himself is no stranger to the competitive service provider space. Prior to coming to Earthlink Huff was the Chairman and CEO, Mpower Communications for over seven years.
Under Huff's leadership, the service provider made its first real move into the business services space through its purchase former New Edge Networks. Through the New Edge Networks purchase, Earthlink gained a nationwide network reach.
Although Earthlink saw like other service providers the same slowdowns in the business segments due to the harsh economic climate throughout 2009 and 2010, its entry into the business space seems to be working. As of the end of Q2 2010, Earthlink had 148,000 business subscribers.
During the company's Q2 earnings call, Huff said that "we began to see sales traction in our New Edge business from multi-location business customers as the economy is showing signs of recovery."
That confidence possibly motivated Huff and his team to enhance their business services holdings by deciding to strike a deal to acquire ITC^DELTACOM (OTC BB: ITCD.OB) this October.
Armed with a nationwide network through its New Edge purchase in 2007, Eartlink's purchase of ITC^DELTACOM will give it a sizeable IP and fiber-based network to target medium and large business customers, especially those that reside in the Southeast where ITC^DELTACOM currently resides.
Given the growing movement by cable operators to target even more large multi-site business accounts, Huff's Earthlink will have a fighting chance to thwart that competition off with its nationwide MPLS network and Deltacom's next-gen network assets.