DirecTV shored up its bundling strategy by adding both Exede by ViaSat and Hughes’ HughesNet Gen4 next-generation satellite broadband services to their TV offer. Both satellite broadband services claim download speeds of 12+Mbps, but actual speeds and availability vary widely. Exede (formerly WildBlue) is available today and HughesNet Gen4 is close to launching.
By adding satellite broadband, DirecTV is touting the availability of a TV/broadband bundle anywhere in the country. “We look forward to offering every single DIRECTV customer access to fast, affordable broadband options through DIRECTV, no matter where they live,” said Oswin Eleonora, senior vice president, Emerging Markets, DIRECTV in a press release. “With greatly improved capacity and speeds, satellite broadband services provided by ViaSat and Hughes will fully support our customers’ connected home experience, enabling them to access a host of features like YouTube, Pandora, social TV apps, and more than 7,000 VOD titles.”
Eleonora embelishes a little with her quote regarding video broadband applications like YouTube and VOD over satellite broadband, considering there are monthly caps on bandwidth usage which don’t exactly encourage excessive video downloading. ViaSat’s Exede provides download speeds of up to 12 Mbps with a 7.5 GB monthly usage cap for $50. No word on pricing for DirecTV’s bundle yet. Their press release hints at some sort of “special offer” to come.
DirecTV also has several telco bundling deals including AT&T and CenturyLink. Lack of a true broadband option has always been a black mark for DirecTV and DISH, although it hasn’t hurt net subscriber adds for DirecTV of late. Still without broadband, both satellite providers have limited growth opportunities for ARPU.
DISH is working on some sort of wireless broadband play with their spectrum holdings, but details are few and far between. Some speculate whether DISH is just looking to flip their spectrum holdings to a provider like AT&T, rather than build an actual broadband network to pair with their TV service.