DirecTV To Offer Bundled Satellite Internet Services

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PARIS — U.S. satellite television provider DirecTV on May 16 said it will provide bundled television and broadband Internet packages using ViaSat’s Exede satellite broadband service, powered by the ViaSat-1 Ka-band satellite, and the competing HughesNet Gen4 service to debut later this year.

ViaSat-1, the world’s highest-throughput broadband satellite, has been in service since January. Hughes’ EchoStar 17, formerly named Jupiter, is a ViaSat-1 lookalike scheduled for launch in late June.

El Segundo, Calif.-based DirecTV, which has extensive experience in using Ka-band satellite frequencies to provide direct-to-home television programming, said it would announce a pricing formula at a later date. The service will offer download speeds of 10 megabits per second or more.

DirecTV competitor Dish Network of Englewood, Colo., began providing bundled television/Internet packages on ViaSat-1 this year. It is unclear whether Dish will continue the ViaSat service once EchoStar 17 is operational. Dish and EchoStar are both owned by Charlie Ergen. EchoStar owns Germantown, Md.-based Hughes, which is ViaSat’s principal U.S. competitor.

ViaSat-1 and EchoStar 17, built by Space Systems/Loral of Palo Alto, Calif., each are designed to provide up to 140 gigabits per second of throughput, or 14 times the capacity of Hughes’ Spaceway 3 satellite, which now handles most HughesNet customers.