Dish Network has introduced a new nationwide broadband Internet service via satellite.
Dish Network called the new service DishNet and it’s aimed at rural customers. The service will start at $39.99 a month for download speeds of 5 megabits per second with data plans of 10 gigabits. Most satellite customers can upgrade to a 20-gigabit plan with speeds of 10 megabits per second for $49.99.
Customers can save $10 a month by combining the network service with satellite TV.
Dish, which ranks second to DirecTV in U.S. satellite customers, is targeting the 14.5 million rural Americans who have slower Internet access or no online connection at all. While 10 megabits per second is a fraction of what’s offered by cable and fiber-optic lines in urban areas, it’s fast enough for most applications, such as social networking, video streaming and Internet-based phone calls.
“We believe today’s announcements should make Dish a stronger player in the high-speed data marketplace,” Marci Ryvicker, an analyst at Wells Fargo in New York, wrote in an e-mail.
The network will rely on a satellite from sister company EchoStar Corp., sources familiar with the project said last month. Dish and EchoStar can handle about 2 million new Internet customers with the service, one of the sources said. The EchoStar 17 satellite was launched into orbit July 5.
EchoStar and Dish became separate companies in January 2008, with Charlie Ergen remaining the chairman of both.
“With nearly one in four rural residents lacking a high-speed connection, reaching these underserved markets is vital,” chief executive Joseph Clayton said in the statement.
The company also will fold its current wire-line broadband service, available in 14 states, into the new brand. That product offers 7-megabit speeds for $29.95 a month.
Dish shares rose 1.8 percent to $30.97 at the close in New York. The stock has climbed 8.7 percent this year.