The deal will put the high-speed service on each Presario, Compaq's line of PCs for consumers, the companies announced Thursday. The first time a new Presario PC starts up, it will present the buyer with an option to sign up for EarthLink's digital subscriber line (DSL) service.
Initially, EarthLink will waive installation fees and will provide the modem as part of a $49.95 monthly service plan. The company will also offer the first three months of service for the price of one.
It's the first such deal for Compaq, but the second in two days for EarthLink. The Internet service provider on Wednesday announced a similar arrangement with IBM that will place its service on PCs using the Home version of the Windows XP operating system. Financial details were not disclosed.
Compaq emphasized to consumers the attraction of getting online easily and quickly. Broadband service "helps improve the customer's Internet experience and overall satisfaction with using their PC," said company spokeswoman Tiffany Smith.
For EarthLink, which is striving to keep up with the competition, the agreements follow a strategy to move customers from traditional dial-up Internet service to more expensive broadband service. In its fourth-quarter earnings report earlier this week, the Atlanta-based company said results fell short of forecasts as dial-up subscription growth dipped, and it credited growth in high-speed Internet subscribers for a narrower loss.
Both the Compaq and IBM deals will give consumers membership in the EarthLink High Speed service, in a package that includes eight e-mail addresses and eight personal Web pages of up to 10MB each. The IBM deal offers 30 days of free service.
EarthLink also advertises a deal for three months at $21.95 with free activation. The service is normally $49.95 per month, including the modem, with a $99 activation fee.