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Dish Will Add iSky Fare

4/02/2000 8:00 PM Eastern

EchoStar Communications Corp. has made a $50 million investment in iSKY Inc., which plans to deliver a two-way broadband service via Ka-band satellite late next year.

The companies said they would market a bundled video and data service, incorporating EchoStar' s Dish Network programming, to customers with a single satellite dish.

The primary targets for satellite-based broadband services are rural households beyond the reach of cable-modem and digital-subscriber-line services.

"Most of us at iSKY came from the terrestrial world of cable modems and DSL," iSKY CEO Tom Moore said last week at the SkyForum conference in New York. "We think those [services] will be wicked cool, but there will be 25 to 30 million homes that won' t have access to those services, and that' s the market we' re going after."

Although much of its target audience may not have access to a competing high-speed service, iSKY plans to keep its offer competitive. Moore said the service would offer speeds of 1 megabit to 1.5 megabits on the downstream and 0.5 megabits on the upstream, at a price comparable to DSL or cable-modem service.

EchoStar won't wait until iSKY is operational to offer two-way broadband services. The company previously announced an agreement with Israel-based Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd. to offer a two-way broadband service via Ku-band satellite to Dish Network customers late this year, using a single dish for both services.this year, using a single dish for both services.

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