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Cox to offer its own high-speed Net service

The company is notifying customers that it intends to offer high-speed Internet service itself, signaling that it has ended its relationship with troubled Excite@Home.

Cox Communications is notifying customers that it intends to offer high-speed Internet service itself, signaling that the company has ended its relationship with troubled Excite@Home.

In e-mails to Cox customers Wednesday, the company said it realized that many were concerned when Excite filed for bankruptcy protection Oct. 1.

"Rest assured we are taking all the necessary steps...(to create) a new Cox-managed network," the company said in e-mails reviewed by CNET News.com.

Cox representatives did not return calls Wednesday evening.

The company's public announcement is a further sign that Excite@Home's cable service is being dismantled despite some efforts to keep it together as a viable business, either under AT&T's mantle or in some other hands. The diaspora of cable Net subscribers, whether to Cox or other ISPs, will mark an untested new model for the cable Internet business, which previously had been dominated by Excite@Home and Road Runner.

Cox and Comcast announced in August that they would pull out of the Excite@Home system, but few details have been available on how that would happen.

Excite@Home is in the midst of a painful bankruptcy process that will likely leave all of its customers in the hands of individual cable companies, and its once-strong Web portal in new hands.

AT&T has agreed to buy the @Home cable access assets for $307 million. Bondholders, who are owed close to $750 million, are trying to derail that bid in favor of something higher.

The company said Friday that it would sell its Excite.com Web property--acquired for $7.8 billion two years ago--for just $10 million, in a complicated three-way transaction involving infrastructure provider InfoSpace and Web portal iWon.