SAN FRANCISCO -- Internet stocks were mostly mixed as the sector has been unable to build on early gains. TheStreet.com Internet Sector index was recently trading up 2.82, or 0.4%, at 655.92.

Excite@Home

(ATHM) - Get Report

was marginally lower. The company suffered another setback in the debate over open access Tuesday when the Broward County, Fla., board of commissioners voted to require cable companies that deliver high-speed Internet service to provide equal access to all Internet service providers. A similar ruling in Oregon in

June sent shares of Excite@Home tumbling.

In a note today,

Merrill Lynch

analyst Henry Blodget wrote that he does not believe that isolated local decisions will have a major impact on Excite@Home. However, he said he does believe "that each additional decision widens the crack in the regulatory door, and that open-access concerns will likely continue to overhang the stock." Excite@Home was down 15/16, or 2%, at 49 in recent trading.

Also among Net stocks,

Exodus

(EXDS)

was trading higher after

Banc of America

initiated coverage of the company with a buy rating and a 170 price target. It was up 7 1/4, or 5%, at 142 3/4.

Tibco Software

(TIBX:Nasdaq) was continuing the recent successful run for Internet IPOs. Tibco, whose products allow computer applications to communicate over the Internet, was up 21, or 140%, at 36 in recent trading.

New Coverage for CNet, ZDNet

Credit Suisse First Boston

initiated coverage on both

CNet

(CNET) - Get Report

and

ZDNet

(ZDZ)

earlier today.

Analyst Bob Hiler began coverage of CNet with a buy rating and ZDNet with a hold rating. Hiler wrote that he expects CNet "to be one of the few companies to make the transition from e-content to e-commerce successfully. His optimism "stems from CNet's commitment to leveraging its ability to facilitate commerce and avoiding expanding into businesses in which it has no competitive advantage."

CNet, which will report earnings on Thursday, was down 11/16, or 1%, at 49 1/8.

Regarding ZDNet, Hiler wrote that the company has a large audience and lucrative advertising sales, but that its reliance on "fixed advertising contracts hampers revenue growth acceleration." It was trading down 1/2, or 2%, at 23 1/16.

Nielsen Ratings Show Slight June Increase

The just-released

Nielsen NetRatings

for June show a slight growth in Internet use for the month. According to the report, the number of U.S. households that went online increased by 3.2%, and those visiting the top-10 properties increased 1% vs. May (compared to the 8.7% increase from April to May). But portals and search engines experienced no growth from May to June. Education grew by 5.9%, e-commmerce increased by 2.8% and finance rose by 1%. Nielsen estimates the current size of the home Internet audience at 105.3 million in June compared to 101.0 million for May and 95.8 million in April.

Of some interest are those sites that showed the largest increases in unique visitors from May to June. They include

Major League Baseball

(85.3%),

Buy.com

(72.5%),

eToys

(ETYS)

(68.1%),

NetRevolution

(59.5%),

drugstore.com

(58.7%) and

Columbia House

(46.3%). (On Tuesday, Columbia House, which is owned equally by

Sony

(SNE) - Get Report

and

Time Warner

(TWX)

, said it was merging with

CDNow

(CDNW)

.)

The Nielsen ratings are released ahead of those from

Media Metrix

(MMXI)

, which have been a focus for the market since the company reported that the number of people using the Internet fell in April vs. March.