Circuit City to Sell DirecTV DSL Service

DirecTV Broadband last week said it signed Circuit City Stores Inc. as the first nationwide retail distributor for its DirecTV DSL digital subscriber line service, starting this month.

Hughes Electronics Corp. bought the broadband service provider from Telocity Inc. last spring.

By the end of October, Circuit City expects to market the DSL service through kiosks in 435 of its stores. Consumers must provide a phone number to determine if their home is in a territory serviced by DirecTV DSL.

Eventually, Circuit City will bundle DirecTV Inc.'s television service with the DSL offering. DirecTV Broadband president Ned Hayes last week said the company was already test marketing different bundled offers, including discounts, special services and a free month's subscription.

Circuit City receives a bounty for each customer who signs on to the DSL service at one of its stores. DirecTV Broadband also markets directly to customers, and is in the midst of a nationwide ad campaign.

At kiosks in Circuit City stores, the retailer also sells high-speed cable modems to qualified customers.

A DirecTV spokesman confirmed last week that the direct-broadcast satellite company would terminate its business relationship with about 4,000 dealers who had not maintained a certain sales level.

Alpert and Associates president Mickey Alpert said DBS rival EchoStar Communications Corp., which focuses more closely on the smaller dealers, could benefit from the move.