Early this year Northpoint shut off DSL service to 100,000 customers with only a few days notice. It caused such a flap that I thought nothing like it would ever happen again. Guess what? Excite@Home says service might be shut off on Friday to 4.1 million cable Internet customers.

Now, mind you, I don’t think it will really happen. Excite@Home is negotiating with the cable companies that carry the service, trying to come up with a new agreement in a hurry that will pass muster with Excite@Home’s bankruptcy court. This looks like posturing, just another routine part of high-level corporate negotiating these days.

Still, the fact that words like this can be spoken out loud really makes it clear how the fortunes of broadband have fallen. Remember the vision – by this time, we were all supposed to have broadband connections to our homes and we’d be well on our way to movies on demand, streamed at high quality to our wired TV sets. That vision doesn’t seem very close any more.

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