Gilat-To-Home Taps Trachtenberg As President, Chief Marketer

Gilat-To-Home Inc. late last month named David Trachtenberg president and chief marketing officer.

The former Prodigy Communications Corp. president joined the company to help oversee the national consumer launch of its two-way broadband Internet-over-satellite service in the fourth quarter of this year.

Last week, GTH announced that it had leased 14 Ku-band transponders at the Telstar 7 satellite from Loral Skynet to use for the two-way service.

Trachtenberg said the company expects to announce a new consumer brand name for the service within the next week or two.

Marketing and branding will be a critical part of the market launch. "We're launching not only a new service, but a new brand and a new category," he added.

In addition to a national consumer branding campaign, GTH will offer marketing assistance and point-of-purchase materials to its distribution partners, which initially include RadioShack Corp. stores and EchoStar Communications Corp.'s Dish Network dealers.

EchoStar plans to offer a single-dish satellite system that will allow its Dish customers to access the broadband Internet service over the same dish.

Telstar 7 is located at 129 degrees west longitude, and can provide service to Alaska and Hawaii, as well as the continental United States. EchoStar's core Dish service is broadcast from 119 degrees west.

EchoStar has already begun to drum up interest in the two-way broadband service through its monthly on-air subscriber chats hosted by chairman Charlie Ergen.

Last week, Ergen and his "Charlie Chat" co-host, executive vice president Jim DeFranco, told subscribers they expect the new broadband service to launch to consumers in late October or early November. EchoStar will go into more detail about the product during next month's technical chat, scheduled for Oct. 1, they added.

GTH expects to firm up its hardware and monthly service pricing closer to launch.