Malone Puts the "Blue" in EchoBlue Rural Broadband


As it signaled in an FCC filing, EchoStar put in a bid for stimulus money for a satellite broadband service. Turns out its partner is John Malone’s satellite broadband provider, WildBlue Communications.

WildBlue signaled several months ago it would look for government help for the half a billion it would cost to launch a new satellite.

John Malone, Liberty Media

EchoStar tipped its hand in a filing at the FCC on the definition of broadband, saying coverage was more important than speed and pointing out it had made a stimulus-money bid for satellite broadband service it was almost ready to launch.

The application, filed under the name EchoBlue Rural Broadband, seeks $130 million in grants from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, and another $400 million in loans from the Agricultural Department’s Rural Utility Service (RUS) for the project.

Both WildBlue and EchoStar filed multiple bids. EchoStar also filed for about $100 million in funds to use bandwidth from two existing birds to deliver satellite broadband, and for another $28,500,000 for customer equipment.