By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
New York – Dish Network previewed an as-yet-unnamed nationwide broadband service, designed to serve 19 million rural residents who do not have the service from cable, DSL or telcos, set to debut by October.
The service will be sold through Dish’s normal distribution channels including retailers, according to Brian McIntyre, broadband VP, who previewed the service to the media at company offices, here.
Dish’s unification of its satellite Internet services under one brand will enable consumers to “bundle satellite Internet with TV service” and have the “convenience of one bill payment, one installation appointment, one source for customer service” and discounted pricing, while “delivering speeds available in metropolitan areas to rural markets.”
While McIntyre and Vivek Khemka, product management VP, did not specify pricing, both indicated rural customers will be able to sign up for download speeds of 5Mbps, and as upgrade packages for 10Mbps being available to most customers. In fact, there will be multiple packages available to expanded data capacity, with data speeds that will enable online streaming. Khemka said that similar to wireless Internet, data caps will apply.
The speeds will be fast enough to provide the following services: access to social media, streaming music and video, shopping online and placing VoIP calls.
While Khemka said, “You don’t have to be a Dish [TV] customer,” to get the new service, the company will be emphasizing packages. And while not mentioning pricing specifics, he quipped that the packages will be “better than 7.9GB at $49” for competing services.
Dish will expand its high-speed satellite Internet capabilities coast to coast with a new service sourced from HughesNet’s Echostar XVII satellite, as well as the Exede satellite Internet product from ViaSat. HughesNet is the 10Mbps service while Exede will be upgraded to 5Mbps when the new service is launched.
City residents may be eligible for this service as well as small businesses, McIntyre said, but as customers inquire about the new broadband offer, they will be qualified by the company’s distribution partners to see where they are located and if DSL might be an option.
Dish will roll its Liberty Bell wireline service under the new unified brand, which has speeds of up to 20Mbps for many urban and suburban residents across a Western 14-state region.
Separately Dish said that the suit filed by Fox Network about Dish Network’s Auto Hop commercial-skipping feature, claiming it violates copyright and retransmission agreements, will come to court on Friday.
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