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DirecTV to offer Web, voice services over power lines

August 16, 2007|From Reuters

NEW YORK — Satellite television provider DirecTV Group Inc. said Wednesday that it reached a deal to offer subscribers high-speed Internet and voice services carried by Current Group over electric power lines.

DirecTV will be able to offer its customers the services as early as the end of this year, with initial coverage extending to the Dallas-Fort Worth area for 1.8 million homes and businesses.

The deal is part of El Segundo-based DirecTV's plans to expand its high-speed Internet offerings to better compete with rival cable operators.

The agreement also will allow DirecTV to expand to other U.S. markets as privately held Current builds out its network. Germantown, Md.-based Current's technology allows electric utilities to add Internet services over existing electric wires.

DirecTV and satellite TV operator EchoStar Communications Corp. have raced to match offerings from cable operators that sell packages of video, high-speed Internet and digital phone services.

The companies have worked closely to seek partnerships to offer broadband services. They struck a deal in June to offer over-the-air broadband services from Clearwire Corp.

Earlier, both struck a deal with WildBlue, a satellite broadband provider partly owned by John Malone's Liberty Media, which is expected to assume control of DirecTV after concluding long negotiations with News Corp.'s Rupert Murdoch.

DirecTV shares fell 63 cents to $21.47.

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