Hughes Launches 'DirecWay' Brand

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New York— Hughes Network Systems has selected a new name for its two-way broadband-over-satellite service: DirecWay.

The company, which announced the change during a meeting with Wall Street analysts here two weeks ago, uses the DirecPC brand for its telephone return path product.

The company also introduced the new moniker to consumers on its Web site — www.hns.com — and through the soft launch of an advertising campaign HNS intends to step up this fall. Alongside the new moniker was the tagline, "Broadband that's out of this world."

HNS and its distribution partners are delivering DirecWay systems to retailers, which are expected to have the product in greater quantity by this fall. DirecWay will place ads in local newspapers and national magazines, HNS general manager Paul Gaske said.

Television ads will be placed primarily on sister company DirecTV Inc.'s direct-broadcast satellite television service.

The DirecWay satellite antennas will be capable of serving the DirecDuo platform, which combines the two-way broadband service with DirecTV's video offering. HNS and DirecTV plan to bundle the services at a discount to consumers, but those details have not yet been finalized.

HNS and DirecTV are both owned by Hughes Electronics Corp., which is currently up for sale. HNS CEO Pradman Kaul said that although he can't predict what the future holds, he's confident that a new owner for Hughes will choose to keep HNS and its DirecWay division operational.

Future generations of DirecTV set-top boxes are expected to include connection ports for the DirecWay satellite service or for Hughes' digital subscriber line service, DirecTV DSL, to help facilitate interactive television.

In the meantime, DirecWay is targeted to personal-computer owners who want the speed and convenience of broadband, but who might not be served by cable modems or DSL.

Kaul noted that the U.S. consumer is impatient and people change supermarkets if the lines are too long.

"It's a great psychological time to be introducing broadband via satellite," Kaul said.

HNS also plans to aggregate content, such as music and distance-learning courses, for the DirecWay platform.

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