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DISH Network Celebrates Availability Of Local Channels in 100 Markets; Satellite TV Company Provides Alternative to Cable Service In Charleston-Huntington, W. Va.

Entertainment Editors/Business Editors/High-Tech Writers



ENGLEWOOD, Colo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 18, 2003--EchoStar Communications Corp. announced today that its DISH Network satellite TV service now provides local channels in 100 local markets.

Charleston-Huntington, W. Va., became the milestone market in the company's ongoing efforts to make local channels available to more Americans.

DISH Network now offers local channels to over 90 million TV households in 44 states in the U.S., plus the District of Columbia, representing over 83 percent of the population.

DISH Network became the first satellite TV company to offer local channels with a roll-out of 13 markets in November 1999. Since then, DISH Network has invested billions of dollars in satellite technology to ensure that as many TV viewers as possible receive their local channels via DISH Network.

"We are pleased to reach this milestone of 100 local markets," said Charles Ergen, chairman and chief executive officer of EchoStar. "We will continue to pursue all avenues to find solutions that will allow us to offer Americans the chance to get their local news, sports and weather from satellite. The public is depending upon us to provide an alternative to cable television."

DISH Network serves in excess of 50 percent more local markets than any other satellite TV provider. With the lowest all digital TV package in America and launch of local channels, DISH Network added 1.3 million customers in the 12 months ending Sept. 30, 2003 -- more than all U.S. cable companies combined.

DISH Network made seven of Charleston-Huntington's local channels available today. They are: ABC Channel 8 (WCHS), Fox Channel 11 (WVAH), NBC Channel 3 (WSAZ), PBS Channel 25 (WKAS), PBS Channel 33 (WPBY), PBS Channel 42 (WPBO) and WB Channel 30 (WHCP). DISH Network now offers 820 local broadcast television stations in its 100 markets throughout the nation.

Prior to launching a local market, DISH Network has to establish capacity on a satellite, set up methods of transferring the signal to DISH Network's uplink center, and reach retransmission agreements with the local broadcasters.

Today's launch represents the first time that local channels have been available to TV viewers in Charleston-Huntington via satellite.

"West Virginia's satellite customers want to be able to watch their local programming, so I am pleased that a leading satellite provider will now provide this service to their customers in the Charleston and Huntington areas," said U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller. "Local television is an important resource for communities and today's announcement is a great step forward in providing all satellite customers in West Virginia with their local channels."

At only $24.99 per month for more than 50 popular TV channels such as ESPN, Discovery, Animal Planet and the Food Network, DISH Network guarantees the lowest all digital TV price through January 2005. DISH Network now offers new customers three free months of its DISH Network Value Pak with HBO and Cinemax, a savings of approximately $150. The DISH Network Value Pak of America's Top 100 channel package provides 132 channels of America's most popular programming, including 13 premium movie channels of HBO and Cinemax for $49.99 per month.

Local channels cost $5.99 in markets where all four major networks (ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox) are available, with credits available in markets such as Charleston-Huntington where some of those channels have yet to launch.

For more information on DISH Network, visit www.dishnetwork.com, call -DISH (), or contact your local DISH Network retailer.

For downloadable, print quality images of DISH Network equipment, installations or the DISH Network logo, visit www.dishnetwork.com/content/aboutus/presskit/print/index.shtml.

About EchoStar Communications

EchoStar Communications Corporation (Nasdaq:DISH) serves over 9 million satellite TV customers through its DISH Network(TM), and is a leading U.S. provider of advanced digital television services. DISH Network's services include hundreds of video and audio channels, Interactive TV, HDTV, sports and international programming, together with professional installation and 24-hour customer service. DISH Network is the leader in the sale of digital video recorders (DVRs). Visit EchoStar's DISH Network at (www.dishnetwork.com) or call -DISH ().

MULTIMEDIA AVAILABLE: http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=4537188

    CONTACT: DISH Network
             Media contact: 
             Steve Caulk, 

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