EchoStar Seeks $1.1 Billion in Broadband Stimulus Funding
September 28, 2009 | Staff Writer
EchoStar has filed applications with the U.S. government seeking more than $1.1 billion in broadband stimulus money for several projects and partnerships, the company announced.
EchoStar formed a cooperative satellite broadband project with ViaSat Inc. to apply for $483 million in stimulus money to build a new satellite. EchoStar and ViaSat said they would each invest between $36 million and $114 million toward the spacecraft, depending on how much in stimulus money is granted to them, if any.
The satellite would provide download speeds of up to 8 megabits per second in all or parts of 20 states west of the Mississippi River, including Colorado, the application said. The project is estimated to cost $519 million and is expected to create or save 450 jobs during the satellite’s construction and another 2,650 jobs during the satellite’s 15-year life expectancy.
EchoStar also partnered with WildBlue to form EchoBlue Rural — a partnership project seeking $530 million in stimulus loans and grants to build and launch a 10 mbps satellite serving at least 1.5 million rural households. WildBlue has been trying to finance a similar project on its own for several months.
EchoStar has also applied for $100 million in loans and grants to start broadband services on existing EchoStar satellites used for Dish Network television, reaching as many as 426,104 people.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, passed in February, made $7.2 billion available to extend high-speed Internet to homes, businesses, schools and public institutions that lack it or are in underserved areas.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Services information Web site, about 2,200 companies have applied for more than $28 billion in projects for the $4 billion in first round of funding, which will be awarded in November.