Dish Covers Country With dishNet Broadband

ENGLEWOOD, COLO.: Dish Network is expanding its branded broadband offering with the official launch of dishNet, a hybrid satellite-wireline high-speed data service that will go live Monday. The service will take Dish broadband service nationwide, targeting rural areas where wireline service is unavailable, with satellite coverage.

"With nearly one-in-four rural residents lacking a high-speed connection, reaching these underserved markets is vital,” Dish CEO Joseph Clayton said in a statement announcing the service. Clayton is christening the service from Cowboy Maloney’s Electric City in Jackson, Miss., today. (Shown below from left to right, Eddy Maloney of Cowboy Maloney's, Dtan Kozlowski and Joe Clayton of Dish; Johnny Maloney of Cowboy Maloney's and Hopper the Dish Mascot.) Dish said the store is a “historic retail launch site of digital satellite TV and satellite radio services.”

dishNet satellite broadband will start at $39.99 for 5 Mbps download/1 Mbps upload with a cap of 10 GB per month, bundled with Dish’s America’s Top 120 or higher TV package, under a two-year contract. Dish said “most satellite customers” would also have the choice of a 10 Mbps/1Mbps/20 GB cap for $49.99 a month.

Marci Ryvicker of Wells Fargo noted that dishNet satellite broadband technically is not a wireless service.

“Specifically, satellite broadband operates through a satellite dish installed on a customer’s home that connects to a modem via wire,” she wrote in an analyst note.

She estimated that there are as many as 20 million households in the United States with no access to broadband, and that Dish is targeting about half of them with its satellite footprint.

Existing Dish subscribers and those taking the TV service for the first time can sign up for free and get $10 a month knocked off the price. Standalone broadband subscribers pay $99 upfront and the full monthly fee.

Dish offers wireline service through local exchange carriers in 14 states—Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. Wired dishNet packages will start at $29.95 for 7 Mbps download, with upgrades to 12 Mbps for an additional $5 or 20 Mbps for $10 more.

Ryvicker said Dish’s move is upside only because it’s launching the service on existing infrastructure. Dish shares gained about 30 cents to open at $30.71 this morning, after suffering a decline of roughly $1 at yesterday’s opening bell, most likely due to skepticism regarding the satellite TV provider’s legal showdown with AMC Networks. AMC is seeking $2.5 billion in damages plus another $1 billion, over a carriage disagreement, according to The Hollywood Reporter.