DISH Wants To Be Your Internet Provider, Too

Dish Network delights in offering bargain price satellite TV service and innovative features (like auto recording of prime time network programming and "Auto Hop" commercial skipping) that please customers and vex rivals. Now it's hoping to do more of the same with dishNET Broadband - a high speed satellite delivered broadband service  available nationwide October 1 starting at $39.99 a month.

The initial marketing thrust will be to the 14.5 million underserved rural and outlying suburban residents who have to settle for DSL or worse, "dial-up" internet service. To get that lowest price $39.99 a month deal, you'll have to bundle the web works with a Dish satellite TV subscription package (others pay $10 more).

The basic price promises at least a 5 megabits per second download and 1 Mbps upload speed with 10 gigabytes of content per month before automatic capping (slowing of the service) kicks in. Sandvine Intelligent Broadband Networks estimates median household broadband usage is 10.3 GB per month.

 5 Mbps is plenty for web browsing and social networking, fast enough for even good quality video streaming, though you probably wouldn't want to watch more than a couple movies a month on Netflix or Amazon - each "eating" at least one gigbyte.

 The satellite delivered service  also is fine for music streaming and voice-over-internet telephone services like Ooma, as Dish demonstrated for this writer recently. But you  you wouldn't want to attempt fast speed multi-player gaming via dishNET Broadband, as there's "some latency when sending signals up and down from a satellite 22,000 miles in space," said Vivek Khemka, Dish vp product management 

 Large swaths of the country on the West Coast and everyone east of the Mississippi within the spot beam path of a newly launched and much more robust Hughes Communcations satellite  also will have the option to  upgrade to dishNET's 10 Mbps download speed and 1 Mbps upload service with 20 GB of data for $49.99 a month, again in a bundle with DISH TV service. Internet installation  - requiring a 27.5 inch dish - is free with these deals.

Philadelphia is a major market for Dish Networks TV service  - maybe even its biggest urban stronghold. That begs the question whether dishNET Broadband will be available here, too. "We're ready to work with our customers wherever possible to meet their needs," said company spokesman Aaron Johnson. But Dish won't be pushing the cause with marketing dollars - at least at first. You'll have to ask for it.

 Dish and partners already offer  a high speed (up to 20Mbps) DSL service in 14 western states that bundles up  with satellite TV service for an even better monthly rate.  So selling satellite-sent internet in those markets definitely won't happen.

BTW- Dish folks have no comment on arguments  heard last Fiday in the U.S. District  Court, Los Angeles, wherein Fox Entertainment  asked for (but has not yet been granted) a preliminary court injunction barring Dish's PrimeTime Anytime and AutoHop commercial skip features available on Dish's new Hopper receiver/DVR.. CBS and NBC Universal have also sued Dish, with NBCU arguing the satellite service provider doesn't have the authority to tamper with broadcast replays.

Dish countersuits argue that time shift recording and fast forwarding through commercials has been our legal right since the October, 1979  U.S. District Court resolution of the so-called "Betamax Case" - later upheld (in 1984) by the U.S. Supreme Court.