By TIMOTHY COX
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
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