EarthLink Rings Up Best Buy

Under an expanded partnership, EarthLink will sell its dial-up and broadband subscriptions in more than 550 Best Buy stores.

Neither the duration, nor the financial terms of the deal, between the Atlanta Internet service provider and Eden Prairie, Minn., electronics retailer was disclosed.

The first pact, signed in November, covered about 400 Best Buy stores and had a limited scope.

“Previously, Best Buy only offered our broadband service,” said Megan Smith, EarthLink’s director of retail channel. “This deal expands the offering to both narrowband and high-speed.”

The agreement does not include (at least at this time) EarthLink’s new enhanced dial-up service, Smith said.

Announced yesterday, EarthLink Plus aims to lure subscribers who want faster connections but aren’t willing to pay for broadband. It improves download speeds up to five times over standard dial-up, by using software from Propel Software, the company claims.

A Best Buy spokesman said the arrangement allows the stores, which sell PCs, laptops and personal digital assistants, among other Web-enabled products, to provide customers with a needed service. The company competes against nationwide player Circuit City, as well as smaller regional rivals.

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