US pay-TV firm EchoStar has forged a broadband internet deal with the world’s biggest satellite operator, Europe-headquartered SES Global.

EchoStar, owner of America’s number two satellite-TV network, has been seeking a way to compete with cable companies’ high-speed web offerings for some time, racking up losses of $150 million (€140m; £96m) in the process.

Now it has rented all the capacity on a satellite SES plans to launch in late 2004 for this purpose. Until that time, the two firms will test the web services using existing SES satellites.

However, the broadcaster’s larger rival Hughes Electronics is likely to have its high-speed internet offering in place before that of EchoStar and SES.

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff