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DirecTV to offer broadband service

In a move that heats up the battle for satellite customers, Hughes Network Systems announces that it will market its high-speed satellite Internet service to customers of its DirecTV.

Hughes Network Systems announced Thursday that it will market its high-speed satellite Internet service to customers of its DirecTV service.

The service, called DirecWay, will cost between $59.99 and $69.99 on top of the DirecTV service cost and will be available later this year. Customers who subscribe to DirecWay will receive Internet access along with about 225 DirecTV channels.

Hughes introduced DirecWay in June as an expansion of the company's previous satellite Internet access offering and will market DirecWay to the 10 million subscribers of DirecTV.

The move ups the stakes for satellite broadcast companies. Competitor Echostar, which boasts about 6 million subscribers, cut satellite TV prices earlier this week to $9 per month for certain TV packages.

Bundling TV with Internet services also mimics a strategy employed by the cable TV industry, which will also feel the heat as it competes with satellite broadcasters for Internet customers.

Kinetics Research recently reported that 6.45 million people in the United States access the Internet through cable modems.

Recent federal decisions might assist the satellite industry in remaining competitive. The Federal Communications Commission announced Thursday that it will permit 11 satellite broadcast companies, including Hughes, to offer services on additional satellite spectrum.

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