Dish Network, America’s second-largest satellite television provider, now provides satellite Internet under the DishNET moniker.
Dish Network began providing satellite television service in 1996, but its roots go much further back. Charles Ergan cofounded EchoStar in 1980 as a satellite television distributor. In 1987, the company requested its own satellite bandwidth, and in 1996 Dish Network officially began with a broadcast from Cheyenne, Wyoming. By the end of 1997, Dish Network had over 1 million customers.
Dish Network began offering wireless satellite Internet under the name DishNET in the fall of 2012. Satellite Internet is not as fast as fiber optic or other wired Internet services, so DishNET is intended for customers in rural areas with limited access to traditional broadband.
DishNET places Dish Network ahead of rival DirecTV, who plans to roll out a similar service sometime in the next year.
As of mid-2012, Dish had 14 million customers nationwide.
Services and Pricing
DishNET offers three speeds of broadband:
- Basic costs $39.99/month and provides download speeds up to 5 Megabits per second (Mbps).
- The next tier costs $49.99/month and offers up to 10 Mbps down and a 1 Mbps upload speed.
- The top package costs $69.99/month and also brings 10 Mbps down, but 2 Mbps for uploads.
The above-quoted prices apply to Internet when bundled with Dish TV; otherwise each costs $10 more per month.
These plans cap data at 10 Gigabytes (Gb), 20Gb and 30Gb, respectively, but they do so by giving half the data as “anytime” and the other half as “bonus” Gbs, which only count between 2am and 8pm. 5Gb, the amount of anytime data for the basic plan, is about enough to stream three movies.
Good Ratings And A Promising Future
Even though these prices, speeds and data limits won’t break any records, DishNET will compete against HughesNet, WildBlue (a former Dish property), and other satellite providers duking it out for rural parts of the country.
DishNET has not been around long enough to appear on Ookla’s NetIndex, but in a highly rural state like South Dakota, the fastest ISP averages 27 Mbps down, while the state’s 8th fastest ISP brings 3.7 Mbps. Thus, DishNET should become competitive in rural markets in 2013.
Furthermore, while the satellite service may be comparatively slow now, DishNET is the beginning of much more. Ergan, who still owns the company, says that DishNET begins the future of Dish, a fully integrated, one-stop service for TV, Internet, landline and mobile phone service with data.