It looks like EchoStar Communications Corp. chairman Charlie Ergen has reactivated the beam high-speed Internet
service via satellite.
EchoStar Thursday announced a multiyear service
agreement with European satellite provider SES Americom Inc. to provide
satellite capacity, including Ka-band transponders that can be used to funnel
high-speed data. Terms of the deal were not released.
The deal gives EchoStar capacity on Americom's "AMC-15" satellite, which is
now set to launch in the third quarter of 2004.
The direct-broadcast satellite provider plans to use the hybrid Ku/Ka-band
bird to offer a combination of satellite-TV programming bundled with
satellite-delivered high-speed Internet services.
Until then, EchoStar plans to begin testing its system using satellite
capacity from Americom birds already launched.
The development is the first indication that EchoStar will regenerate a
satellite-delivered high-speed Internet offering.
EchoStar recently signed a bundling agreement with digital-subscriber-line
provider EarthLink Inc., but its attempts at a satellite-delivered product have
largely been mothballed since its proposed merger with Hughes Electronics
Corp.'s DirecTV Inc. failed late last year.
At one time, EchoStar had invested in satellite Internet provider StarBand
Communications Inc., and it had a marketing agreement to sell its service
through distributors, but that relationship soured. By April 2002, the two
companies had mutually divorced their business arrangement.