EchoStar Communications–despite a series of fits and starts with companies such as StarBand Communications and WildBlue Communications–is moving ahead on plans to offer a better two-way broadband satellite service.
To that end, the DBS provider inked a multi-year deal to lease satellite capacity from SES Global Company "to seek ways to offer a combination of satellite TV programming bundled with satellite-delivered high-speed Internet services."
The deal gives EchoStar capacity on Americom's AMC-15 satellite. That bird, currently being built by Lockheed Martin, is a Ku/Ka-band hybrid slated to launch to 105 degrees West Longitude in the third quarter of 2004. Once operational, the satellite will feature Ku-band transponders in the 24-36 MHz range and Ka-band spot beams at 12-125 MHz.
Although the Americom partnership won't be operational until next year, EchoStar has some nearer-term broadband plans coming via a new satellite scheduled to launch sometime this month.
The DBS provider said it will use the Ka-band portion of the EchoStar IX satellite test and verify the company's future broadband initiatives. That bird is slated to operate at the 121 degree West Longitude orbital slot.