Report: ‘cheaper, faster’ broadband Internet over power lines coming to U.S. homes in 2006

“Call it a dark horse in the race to bring Internet connections to America’s homes. The electric utility industry wants to bring us Internet connections as well,” Dean Takahashi reports for The Mercury News. “Consumers already have cable TV and phone companies vying to sign them up for high-speed Internet service. The power companies would be new contenders in this race.”

“It may sound crazy that the people who have brought us outages and brownouts are promising round-the-clock high-speed Internet access. But after years of incubation, industry observers say it’s ready to happen. Trials have begun, and big rollouts are expected in 2006,” Takahashi reports. “The service, called BPL for broadband over power lines, could be cheaper and faster than DSL service over phone lines or cable-TV that now supply Internet connections to most U.S. households.”

Full article here.

38 Comments

  1. I dunno… The power companies already have a wire running to virtually every permanent freestanding structure in the USA, so if they could pull it off, they would have a distinct advantage over cable and DSL.

    On the other hand, I don’t know about your town, but there’s only one electricity provider where I live. A lack of competition in a market that falls outside of the primary purpose for the company… where have I heard of that before?

  2. A few years ago, I lived in a town that was testing this exact concept by the power company. In our situation, the power company set up Wi-fi on just about every other street light. Unfortunately, only a few people were selected as test users. I wasn’t one and I didn’t know anyone. I left before hearing the results.

    In very small rural towns and secluded homes (farms), BPL may be the only way to get high speed being that they have no cable or DSL.

    Perhaps Apple will be announcing this as their new way to access the internet. They can have 1kbps, thus making streaming and downloading HD video a real possibility. They can call it “Apple on Power Lines” – APoL.

    So for Wednesday, they will announce…

    1. New high speed APoL.
    2. Downloadable and streamable video via new iTunes.
    3. Translucent Macs with a glowing speedometer indicating the users current download speeds – an awesome way to advertise how fast their connections are (and how slow your old DSL and cable are).
    4. Inter-home networking via the home’s power lines for data, music and video.
    5. New Apple media center; a device not much larger than a Mac mini.

  3. If power lines are everywhere, what about security concerns with labs, military installations, etc.

    I’m not up on this type of technology, but with power lines in every building, isn’t it possible to cut in almost anywhere and tap information?

  4. News Item:

    M$, meanwhile, backs the Broadband initiative by the Natural Gas providers. It seems this innovation was released by Mr. Steve Ballmer, CEO, after a large lunch at Taco Bell. Mr. Ballmer touted this idea as another in the series of innovations in M$’ pipeline of products.

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