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HNS Launches `DirecWay'

6/21/2001 9:46 AM Eastern

New York -- In a meeting with Wall Street analysts here, Hughes Networks
Systems unveiled 'DirecWay' as the new brand name for its two-way
broadband-via-satellite service, which will replace the former 'DirecPC' brand.

The company also introduced the new brand -- along with
the tag line, 'Broadband that's out of this world' -- to consumers on its www.hns.com
Web
site, as well as through a soft launch of an advertising campaign that it plans
to step up this fall.

HNS and its distribution partners have started delivering DirecWay systems to
retailers, which are expected to have products in greater quantity by fall.
DirecWay will place ads in local newspapers and national magazines, HNS general
manager Paul Gaske said. Television ads will be placed primarily on sister
company DirecTV Inc.'s direct-broadcast satellite television service.

The DirecWay satellite antennas will be capable of serving the DirecDuo
platform, which combines the two-way broadband service with DirecTV's television
service. HNS and DirecTV plan to bundle the services together at a discounted
price to consumers, but those details have not yet been finalized.

HNS and DirecTV are both owned by Hughes Electronics Corp., which is
currently up for sale. HNS CEO Pradman Kaul said that although he can't predict
what the future holds, he's confident that a new owner for Hughes would choose
to keep HNS and its DirecWay division operational.

Future generations of DirecTV set-top boxes are expected to include
connection ports for the DirecWay satellite service or for Hughes'
digital-subscriber-line service, 'DirecTV DSL,' to help facilitate interactive
television.

In the meantime, DirecWay is targeted to PC owners who want the speed and
convenience of broadband but who might not be served by cable modems or DSL.

National retailers Best Buy Co. Inc., Circuit City Stores Inc. and Office
Depot Inc. will sell the DirecWay product to consumers. HNS also has deals in
place with distributors Perfect-10 and RS-I to sell DirecWay through smaller,
independent stores.

Suggested retail prices are $400 for the hardware and $59.95 to $69.95 for
the monthly subscription. HNS also plans to aggregate content, such as music and
distance-learning courses, for the DirecWay platform.

DirecWay faces competition from StarBand Communications
Inc.'s two-way satellite service, which is already sold through RadioShack Corp.
stores and independent EchoStar Communications Corp. satellite retailers.

 

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