"He's trying to do the same thing he's done with television," said one person familiar with Murdoch's plans, "controlling both content and distribution."

It is unclear what short-term impact a significant capital expenditure such as this would have on DirecTV or News Corp., both of which have significant cash on hand.

But with cable valuations already under water, DirecTV teaming up with EchoStar and building out a broadband network could put more pressure on rivals.

On Monday News Corp. was unchanged at $16.71. DirecTV was down a penny to $13.93 and EchoStar down 2 cents to $27.79.

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