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RadioShack And Excite@Home Ink Pact For Cable Broadband

Fort Worth, Texas-Radio-Shack completed one of the last legs of its home-connectivity strategy today by announcing a pact with Excite@Home to provide customers with cable broadband Internet service.

The deal comes one week after Best Buy announced its own broadband partnership with AT & T.

In the latest alliance, consumers within Excite’s broadband footprint will be able to purchase a cable modem and self-install kit at select RadioShack stores, which are expected to number 1,500 by late next year.

The QuickStart CD-ROM installation kit was designed for ease of use, with the goal of accelerating adoption of cable-based Internet access by eliminating the need for an installer.

According to PaineWebber analyst Aram Rubinson, the deal marks the first time self-installed broadband will be offered through the retail channel. The heretofore cumbersome installation process had been an impediment to @Home’s growth, he said.

“Streamlining the installation process is the critical component for driving cable broadband adoption into more homes,” acknowledged George Bell, chairman/CEO of Excite@Home. RadioShack chairman/president/CEO Len Roberts added that “our business strategy is to become America’s Home Connectivity Store, and our agreement with Excite@Home will be an integral part of this strategy by virtue of the company’s expansive broadband footprint.”

Also participating in the pact are Excite partners AT & T, Comcast and Cox. Comcast will be the first cable operator to launch with RadioShack by offering broadband service by year’s end through 150 stores in such Mid-Atlantic markets as Baltimore, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.