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Net competition heavy with mergers, rate hikes

Microsoft plans to increase its monthly fee for its ISP service, while MindSpring and EarthLink team up to take on players like AOL.


  latest developments 

The Internet service provider market is heating up. In an unexpected move, Microsoft hikes its monthly fees for MSN. Looking for safety in numbers, MindSpring and EarthLink merge to create the second-largest ISP in the nation.

"Price is not really the issue here. The real question is how you differentiate an ISP."

- Barry Parr, analyst with IDC


Microsoft to raise MSN's monthly fee
update In an unexpected move, Microsoft says it will raise rates for its MSN Internet Access service by $2 per month.

Net leaders merge to fend off competition
EarthLink and MindSpring merge amid an increasingly cutthroat market for Internet service providers, where it seems there is safety and survival in numbers.

ISPs MindSpring, EarthLink to merge
Internet service providers EarthLink and MindSpring agree to merge, creating a new company that will have a market capitalization of more than $3 billion.

Previous coverage
How to avoid a $400 "free" ISP phone bill
An Internet user falls into the unfortunate trap of mistaking a local toll call and is faced with a $400 phone bill. A quick read of the ISP's user agreement could have helped the situation.

AOL may invest billions for consumer access
America Online considers spending as much as $10 billion to gain access to consumers' homes through cable, electronically enhanced phone lines, and satellite and wireless technologies.

New rental deals allow anyone to be an ISP
It's only a matter of time before companies like your local hardware store begin offering their own ISP services, as firms offer network equipment leasing programs.