EchoStar Staging Cable-Rate Protests

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Several cable systems around the country will face "protests" of recent rate hikes staged by one of their rivals, EchoStar Communications Corp.

The DBS operator’s Dish Network is recruiting employees of retailers, dealers and some subcribers to picket cable systems.

The company would confirm only that Cox Communications’ system in Oklahoma City, Okla., is one of the targets, scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

The publicity stunts are tied to EchoStar’s ongoing campaign to position itself as a cheaper alternative to cable, with packages as low as $29.99 monthly, including 60 cable networks plus local broadcast stations.

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