EchoStar, which recently dropped its distributor relationship with StarBand's satellite-based two-way broadband Internet service, announced a new partnership to deliver DSL broadband service with EarthLink to DISH Network subscribers.
Speaking at the recent SkyForum seminar in New York, EchoStar chairman Charlie Ergen said offering customers DSL in a bundled package will provide a convenient and competitively priced answer to cable modem services. Currently, he said broadband satellite services don't provide an economically viable business solution. Ergen said that if the pending merger with DirecTV receives federal regulatory approvals, his company should then have the necessary "economies of scale" to offer a viable broadband satellite offering to both rural and urban markets.
In addition to providing Internet access to PCs, EchoStar plans to market a next-generation satellite TV set-top box that combines DSL broadband and satellite TV. The unit, which will be available shortly, will enable video-on-demand and other advanced services.
EchoStar expects to begin offering bundled Earthlink DSL/DISH Network TV service this summer using its nationwide network of retailers.