US satellite TV provider Dish Network has announced it will accept Bitcoin payments from customers starting in the third quarter of this year.
The company, based in Colorado, will use Bitcoin payments processor Coinbase to process the transactions. Customers will be able to transfer Bitcoins through an online facility; Coinbase will absorb the digital currency and then remit dollars to Dish.
Bernie Han, Dish’s executive vice president, commented: "With this move, Dish isn’t necessarily making a bet on the future of digital currencies. But we see this new payment option as a way to boost customer service.
"We always want to deliver choice and convenience for our customers and that include the method they use to pay their bills."
Dish – which supplies 14m households with satellite TV and made $13.9bn in revenue last year – is the third-largest pay-TV provider in the United States. It stated that it will be the biggest company to accept Bitcoin so far.
"The initial idea for accepting Bitcoin came from Dish employees, some of whom are avid Bitcoin users," Han added.
Bitcoin payments processor Coinbase, headquartered in San Francisco, California, was launched in June 2012.
At the end of 2013, the company announced that it was processing $15m per month in Bitcoin transactions and that its customer base has reached 650,000 users.
Earlier this week, Coinbase launched a new feature called ‘Payment Pages’ allowing users to make a social, sharable payment profile.