EchoStar is in family biz

Satcast offers low-cost kid-friendly tier

EchoStar became the latest company to offer a family tier Thursday with a more expansive — and less expensive — plan than its rivals.

Satcaster unveiled a plan to sell a bundle of about 40 channels, concentrating mainly on children’s, news and educational programming, for $19.99. Subscribers can upgrade to a plan that includes local channels for an additional $5.

Some have criticized family tiers as packages aimed more at deflecting FCC pressure to sell programming a la carte — and protecting expanded-basic tiers — than at attracting a wide audience.

But EchoStar’s package could be more appealing to consumers. Company is offering the widest-ranging of all the family tiers; number of channels is more than twice that offered by Time Warner and Comcast.

At $24.99, package costs $6-$8 less than other cablers’ tiers. Company also allows consumers to purchase a less expensive tier that does not include local stations, which Comcast and Time Warner don’t allow.

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