RealTime IT News

The Dish Ran Away with the DSL

Looking to close the high-speed Internet access gap, EchoStar Communications and EarthLink announced Friday a partnership deal to package satellite and digital subscriber line (DSL) ISP services.

The Colorado-based EchoStar, which is awaiting regulatory clearance on a merger with Hughes Electronics (DirecTV), said the EarthLink alliance would provide a "competitively priced satellite television/Internet access package."

With the larger cable companies commanding a huge chunk of the high-speed Internet access market, EchoStar and EarthLink are making a bold bid to tap into that market, offering credits of up to $10 month on monthly service charges for the bundled DSL Internet and satellite TV programming. EchoStar's Dish Network expects to begin offering the EarthLink DSL service late this summer.

The deal gives EchoStar a base of approximately 4.8 million users to market its satellite TV services while the Atlanta-based EarthLink gets to tap into Dish Network's 7 million subscribers.

Dish Network also plans to offer a satellite TV set-top box this spring that combines the capabilities of DSL broadband and satellite television to deliver video on demand and other advanced services for its satellite TV customers.

"Also, consumers in areas not served by EarthLink DSL will have the opportunity to obtain a discount on DISH Network services bundled with EarthLink's dial-up Internet access," the companies said in a joint statement.

"By bundling EarthLink DSL Internet access with premium digital video services from DISH Network, we can now offer a competitive package of video and broadband for residential customers," said John Kortier, VP of channel sales at EarthLink. "

The companies believe the alliance addresses a consumer preference for bundled communications services. Through a national broadband network, EarthLink offer DSL services nationwide. "Our alliance with EarthLink opens new opportunities to expand our subscriber base," said Mark Jackson, senior vice president at EchoStar.