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Some AT&T users face e-mail shift


January 19, 2002

ANDOVER - AT&T Broadband is requiring more than 100,000 cable modem subscribers in Massachusetts and New Hampshire to get new e-mail addresses by March 15.

To compensate for the inconvenience, however, AT&T said yesterday that it will increase from four to six the number of e-mail addresses and Web pages each subscriber will get as part of the monthly package.

It will also launch new Web-based access to AT&T Broadband e-mail accounts, so that people will be able to check their e-mail from any computer in the world that has a Web browser.

The changes affect about 630,000 subscribers total in Greater Boston, Atlanta, Florida, Los Angeles, Minnesota, and other areas formerly served by MediaOne Group, the cable company AT&T bought from US West in 1999.

AT&T inherited from MediaOne a legal challenge brought by a Midwestern advertising company that claimed rights to the mediaone.net ''domain name'' MediaOne used for e-mail addresses for its cable modem subscribers.

In Greater Boston, MediaOne included the former Continental Cablevision and later several former Time Warner Cable franchises in northern and southwestern Boston suburbs, including Canton, Foxborough, Lynn, Malden, Medford, and Somerville.

Beginning next month through March 15, current subscribers with (username)@mediaone.net addresses will be required to change them over to an address ending in attbi.com.

AT&T spokeswoman Jennifer L. Khoury said subscribers will in the next two or three weeks get letters and e-mails from the company containing a link to a Web page, where they will be guided through the steps to change their e-mail addresses and URLs for personal Web pages.

In an undetermined but apparently small number of cases, current mediaone.net customers who have the same user name as an existing attbi.com subscriber may have to pick a new user name, Khoury said.

Business and professional subscribers who have an e-mail address with their company or other name after the @ sign will be able to keep those addresses but will still have to go through the Web-based reprogramming process to keep the name valid, Khoury said.

After March 15, any mail sent to a mediaone.net address will be rejected. Customers who have been given e-mail and Web site addresses ending in attbroadband.com will also have to change them to attbi.com.

Khoury said subscribers should not take any action yet, but should watch their e-mail inboxes and US mail over the next few weeks for notices about how to undertake the process of switching to attbi.com, which she said should take a few minutes.

''We certainly regret any inconvenience this will cause our customers, but we will be able to introduce several enhancements not currently available,'' Khoury said.

Details of the new Web-based access to AT&T Broadband e-mail accounts were not available yesterday, but Khoury said it will be similar to the way a subscriber with Hotmail, Juno, Lycos, Yahoo, and other free Web-based email accounts goes to a Web page, enters a user name and password, and reads e-mail, from any computer.

By Peter Howe. This story ran on page C1 of the Boston Globe on 1/19/2002. Copyright © 2002 Globe Newspaper Company.


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