WiMAX service provider Clearwire, announced on Thursday
that it has signed agreements with two U.S. satellite TV broadcasters – DirecTV and EchoStar (Owner of DISH Network) – to enable the satellite firms to offer high-speed internet access to their subscribers, in a move to compete with cable operators, which have won customers with attractively priced “triple pay” packages offering video, phone and high-speed Internet service. In turn, Clearwire can offer satellite television services from either provider to its customers.
"By expanding the reach of our services through DIRECTV and EchoStar, and by incorporating direct-to-home satellite video services in our own distribution channels, we believe we have an opportunity to significantly expand our business opportunity," said Clearwire president and CEO Perry Satterlee.
Clearwire currently offers service in 39 U.S. markets, covering around 9.9 million people in 13 states, with 258,000 WiMAX subscribers as of the end of the first quarter of 2007. Given those numbers, the deal won’t give DirecTV or EchoStar much exposure, but could give WiMAX an important boost as a serious broadband alternative. A launch is planned for later this year; pricing and other plans have not been announced.