Earthlink Downsizes

Tina Reilly
ATLANTA --In a surprising turn of events, Internet Service Provide (ISP) Earthlink announced plans Wednesday to lay off more than 40 percent of its workforce in an effort to outsource customer service to India and other countries.

This is the second major layoff the ISP has undergone over the past year, although it has retained its position as the third most successful ISP and counts an estimated 5 million subscribers as its loyal following, according to SiliconValley.com.

In the rank and file of ISPs, Earthlink trails immediately behind AOL and MSN.

Earthlink’s downsizing plan will include the closure of four U.S.-based call centers and the dismissal of an estimated 1,300 employees. Three of those call centers are based in California, more specifically, San Jose, Pasadena, and Roseville. The fourth call center slated for closure is based in Pennsylvania.

According to SiliconValley.com, this week’s announcement to lay off workers, combined with Earthlink’s layoffs in 2003, account for nearly 60 percent of its workforce.

The ISP intends to relocate a large portion of its customer care service to the Philippines, Jamaica, and India, where an increasing majority of leading technology companies are developing support and data centers in exchange for cheaper labor costs.

An Earthlink spokesperson was quoted as saying to SiliconValley.com that its announcement to lay off workers is part of a strategy to remain profitable and efficient.

The company issued a statement saying that with the money it will save from reducing its workforce, it will pursue product and sales development.