The Big Easy gets a big loss with EarthLink's pullout: InformationWeek reports that EarthLink attempted to sell the network, get the city to buy it, and then to simply give the network (and its obligations) away, but had no takers on any front.
EarthLink announced its most recent quarter's earnings a few days ago, and they managed to turn a GAAP profit, while staunching the bleeding of so many businesses that had no short-term and seemingly little medium-term potential for net revenue. The company dramatically slashed its marketing, which they found only caused subscribers to join and quit. While revenue dropped from $290m to $235m year over year in Q1, operating costs and expenses were cut from $321m to $198m, with the most noticeable drop in sales and marketing ($99m to $31m) and operations and customer support ($60m to $39m). They recorded $58m in earnings versus a year ago's $22m loss.
Employees dropped from 2,108 to 922 during the period, while subscribers dropped from 5.7m to 3.6m. But it's worth noting that the biggest drop happened last year already: the 31-Dec-2007 subscriber count was 3.9m. They're making slightly more money from each of those remaining customers, and have slightly lower churn. Their municipal write-off is lower, too, as they've taken most of the expense, and have offloaded more and more of their future obligations.
The company still has the same problem that it had before it started unwinding its services beyond dial-up and broadband: None of its markets are expanding, and it has increasingly poor access to reasonably priced broadband to resell to customers, as no cable or DSL providers are obligated to provide true wholesale rates.