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EchoStar to Resell WildBlue Net Access

Looking to turn at least a double play, EchoStar Communications struck a deal to resell WildBlue Communications’ satellite-based broadband Internet-access service.

EchoStar will offer the service as Dish Network High-Speed Internet powered by WildBlue, with pricing starting at $49.95 per month. The service provides speeds of 1.5 megabits per second downstream and 256 kilobits per second upstream.

The WildBlue service requires a separate satellite dish. However, unlike previous satellite-based Internet-access services, an additional phone-line back channel is not necessary.

Jim DeFranco, EchoStar cofounder and executive vice president of sales and distribution, said Dish now offers customers "access to affordable broadband Internet via satellite with speeds comparable to DSL [digital subscriber line] or cable modem."

At $50 per month, however, the service is no bargain. It's less bandwidth for a higher price than most cable and telco broadband offers. Comcast, for example, offers what it claims is a 6-mbps Internet connection for $42.95 per month.