Englewood, Colo. -- EchoStar Communications Corp. said last
week that it has begun a soft launch of its "Dish Network Education" service,
with The Schoolhouse Network as its first distance-education channel.
Schoolhouse aggregates educational programming geared
toward school-aged children from kindergarten through high school. EchoStar will target
schools and home-schooling parents with the new service.
Bill Vanderpoel, vice president of business development for
EchoStar, said the educational programming might also be of interest to families with
children in public schools who want to supplement their education with programming at
Schoolhouse will be uplinked to EchoStar's
direct-broadcast satellite at 61.5 degrees west longitude -- not at 119 degrees, where
EchoStar delivers its core Dish Network entertainment service. Future educational services
will be delivered from both 61.5 degrees and 119 degrees, Vanderpoel said.
Subscribers who take services from both orbital locations
will require two 18-inch DBS dishes. The company already delivers other programming that
may be of interest to school-aged children and their teachers, such as NASA Television and
a variety of foreign-language services.
Pricing has not yet been set for Schoolhouse. Vanderpoel
said the company plans to add more programming in April, and it anticipates that a full
service will be in place in time for the start of the school year this fall.