EchoStar Communications has cobbled together its traditional video offerings with a satellite-delivered Internet service from WildBlue Communications.
The commercial deployment follows a formal agreement between EchoStar, DirecTV and WildBlue announced in June.
WildBlue's business model is based on the inability of cable operators and DSL service providers to economically reach many rural customers, an observation echoed by EchoStar. "Our customers living in rural communities have endured the slower speeds of dial-up simply because they haven't had choices when it comes to high-speed Internet service providers," said Jim DeFranco, executive vice president at EchoStar.
WildBlue's top tier offers transmission speeds of 1.5 Mbps downstream and 256 kbps up.
Packages start at $49.95 per month–the same price WildBlue charges for its lowest tier. Service includes multiple e-mail addresses, Web hosting space, and 24/7 Dish Network technical support. A separate satellite dish is required to receive the high-speed Internet service.
EchoStar is not selling the service directly. Consumers can sign up for service through authorized Dish Network retailers.