Satellite TV provider Dish Network has mounted what appears to be a two-pronged effort to bring satellite television to homes via the Internet. The company announced it will offer satellite broadband service aimed at rural users starting Oct. 1, and at the same time, the company is said to be negotiating with content providers and TV networks to offer their channels in their entirety over the Internet.
Dish says it will offer satellite-delivered broadband service priced in two tiers. The first will cost $39.99 per month for 5Mb per second (Mbps) download speed and 1 Mbps upload speed, and a 10GB per month cap on the amount of data you can use. The second tier, for $49.99 per month, offers twice the download speed (10Mbps) and a 20GB data cap. If a customer signs a two-year contract with the company and signs up for one of its more expensive TV plans, Dish will waive a $99 installation fee.
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The global average of broadband download speed (according to speedtest.net) is 11.89 Mbps -- and the U.S. broadband average speed is now 6.7Mbps, according to Akamai. If Dish can deliver those speeds as advertised, rural customers who currently can only use the Internet via antiquated dial-up service would see significant improvements in their network connectivity. Dish's pricing is competitive with other satellite Internet companies such as ViaSat, offering its Exede Internet service at similar rates.
Meanwhile, Dish Network is said to have plans for that expanded base of Internet users who can watch streaming video, looking to convince networks and content owners to offer their channels à la carte via the Internet. Earlier this month, Dish Network was said to be planning to launch a movie streaming service similar to Netflix, which is probably true given that the company purchased most of Blockbuster's assets in April of this year for $320 million.
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Apparently, Dish wants to take that idea a step further. Thursday, Bloomberg reported Dish is in private talks with networks like MTV, HGTV, Food Network and Univision, in an effort to offer its customers smaller, lower-cost bundles of channels that can be viewed online or on mobile devices.
Such a move would upset the apple cart of the cable and satellite TV businesses, which count on customers paying for hundreds of channels even if they only watch a few. This is not the first time Dish has disrupted the erstwhile-comfortable world of broadcast, cable and satellite TV. Earlier this year Dish rolled out its controversial AutoHop service that allows users of its Hopper DVR to view recorded network programs with the commercials omitted.
This is not going over well with broadcasters. Dish is currently being sued by (and is counter-suing) several U.S. TV networks that are trying to protect their business model of advertiser-supported programming.
Is Dish trying to do too much too quickly, or is it a forward-looking company that will force the other media giants to modernize their distribution methods? Let us know what you think in the comments.
This story originally published on Mashable here.