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The Daily



12-06-03: Regular network channels now offered by local DISH network


Local DISH Network subscribers now have access to regular network channels, making the satellite cable television service more competitive with traditional cable.
The lack of access to NBC, CBS, ABC and FOX television affiliates in Lima, Dayton or Fort Wayne, Ind., was one major drawback the satellite service faced in luring local customers away from cable. DISH Network announced at a news conference Thursday that its customers in Mercer County now will have access to ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, WB and Fox affiliates based in Dayton.
DISH Network subscribers in Champaign, Clark, Darke, Greene, Logan, Miami, Montgomery, Preble and Shelby counties in Ohio and Wayne County, Ind., also will be able to get the new local programming.
DISH Network, a trademark of Englewood, Colo.-based EchoStar Communications, bills itself as the cheapest and fastest growing satellite service in the nation. In a news release announcing the new availability of local channels in the Dayton market, an EchoStar official blasted the cable television industry.
“Television viewers in Dayton now have an obvious, money-saving alternative to cable by switching to the lowest-priced service in the nation,” said Michael Schwimmer, EchoStar’s senior vice president of programming. “We think the American consumer is tired of piggish cable companies that eat them out of house and home with their ever-increasing costly rates.”
DISH Network will charge $5.99 for the new local channels. Basic service starts at $24.99.
Cable prices vary from community to community based on whether there is competition. In Wapakoneta, for example, a Time Warner cable package comparable to DISH Network’s offering runs less than $20, because the company has competition from local cable provider TSC Communications, Wapakoneta. In St. Marys, though, the exact same service costs Time Warner more than $40. TSC has a franchise agreement to enter the St. Marys market and is building infrastructure to do so. Time Warner rates are then expected to fall to oppose the competition.
Satellite programming appeals to a broad range of consumers, independent dealers said for a Jan. 11 story in The Daily Standard about cable television rates. The technology especially appeals to people who live in rural areas not served by any cable providers. Customers unhappy with rising cable prices or those who want specific sports programming also are turning to satellite systems. But the lack of local channels in some markets keeps some customers from switching from conventional cable.
Dayton is the 90th city DISH Network has brought local programming to. A company spokeswoman said Friday that the company is hoping to reach the 100 plateau in the near future.
Most satellite programming is sold through independent local dealers. Prices generally are firm regardless of the local cable television market. Competition is fierce among satellite providers, with most offering free equipment and installation with long-term service agreements.


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