HOLMDEL, N.J., Jan 08, 2007 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX News Network/ -- Vonage Holdings Corp. (NYSE: VG), a leading provider of broadband telephone service, today announced that one of its subsidiaries, Vonage Network Inc., has signed a three-year contract with EarthLink (Nasdaq: ELNK) to offer its customers Wi-Fi Internet access in select cities throughout the United States.
Under terms of the agreement, Vonage will buy Internet access on a wholesale basis from EarthLink in all cities where the company will build, own and operate municipal wireless networks. Vonage will then sell its own Wi-Fi Internet service to consumers under the Vonage brand.
EarthLink has become one of the leaders in the emerging municipal Wi-Fi market, having been awarded contracts in Philadelphia; Anaheim, California; Milpitas, California and New Orleans. Wi-Fi is short for wireless fidelity, enabling a person to connect his or her computer, cell phone or PDA to the Internet or another Wi-Fi enabled device, without a traditional 'wired' connection.
"Giving Vonage customers greater access to affordable, high-speed Internet access makes great sense, and is another way we are working to improve the Vonage customer experience," said Mike Snyder, CEO of Vonage. "From the moment customers purchase our service, we are focused on making sure that we meet and exceed their expectations and that they can connect more easily, affordably and reliably than with any other provider."
"As a leader in municipal Wi-Fi networks, EarthLink is committed to open access, which enables other companies to offer their unique services to their customers at consumer-friendly rates," said Donald Berryman, executive vice president of EarthLink and president of the ISP's municipal networks unit. "Vonage can continue to trail blaze and evolve its brand by expanding its suite of product offerings, through this agreement, in the emerging municipal Wi-Fi market."
Later in 2007, Vonage plans to provide hardware, such as a wireless modem device, and other complementary software tools to customers that will be using the service as an alternative to DSL or cable modem Internet access. Customers that subscribe to this service in one of the Wi-Fi enabled cities and that wish to access the network outdoors will be able to use their laptop computer throughout the city. In the future, other services and devices, such as the next generation Vonage Wi-Fi phone, will be able to be used on these networks.
"The size and scope of the potential VoIP market is vast, with mainstream consumers representing a significant opportunity," said Jeffrey Citron, Chairman and Chief Strategist of Vonage Holdings Corp. "Providing customers with access to newly-built municipal Wi-Fi networks is a perfect complement to our platform -- helping us reach a greater percentage of consumers and giving them the flexibility and mobility they want -- thus, enabling us to execute on Vonage's mission of helping people communicate when, where and how they choose."