Reports are suggesting that Dish Network will be launching an expanded satellite broadband service later this year that would compete directly with offerings from cable companies and telecoms. The company already offers satellite web access in select parts of the country through a partnership with ViaSat but a new deal would make broadband access available nationwide.

EchoStar, a sister company of Dish Network, launched a satellite called EchoStar 17 into orbit on July 5 that will be used to deliver broadband speeds of up to 15 Mbps downstream. The satellite will reportedly be able to support around 2 million new customers although speeds could initially be limited to just 5 Mbps to support more customers. Additional satellites would be required to handle more users, however.

These types of speeds are possible due to technological advances in the satellite industry. Newer models now use higher-frequency bands that provide greater speeds to a wider audience than previous satellites.

Sources familiar with the project didn't give any pricing information although the service is expected to be more expensive than traditional offerings. Dish will likely market the service to rural residents where it's too expensive to run cable lines and cellular access isn't available. Furthermore, customers can expect to see the Internet package bundled with television programming to increase competition with cable providers.

We are hearing that Dish plans to introduce the new service in late September or early October.