Broadband Delivered Via Power Lines?

    February 23, 2007

There has been a lot of publicity surrounding Google and Earthlink’s efforts to bring municipal WiFi to the city of San Francisco. With both the political and logistical snags that the companies have encountered along the way, however, should we start looking for an alternative method for delivering broadband to the masses?

Don’t get me wrong; I’m all in favor of MuniFi. Companies like Google and Earthlink are truly visionary, in my opinion, for having the drive to pursue such an undertaking.

The problem, however, seems to lie in that of political opposition and logistical setup. While there’s no cure for politics, there could be a way to get around the logistical obstacles that have held back widespread MuniFi adoption…

Power lines.

Think about this; our power lines offer an already existing infrastructure within which to operate, greatly reducing the cost and time it would take to create entirely new pathways by scratch. Also, power lines are accessible to both urban and rural areas, which means that Farmer Johnson won’t have to drive forty-five minutes into the city to check his e-mail.

This ZDNet article offers coverage from a discussion about the possibility of broadband being offered over the power line systems:

That’s the takeaway from a roundtable that focused Current Communications, a startup that is selling electric utilities on the need for better grid monitoring and management and software and broadband over powerline technology.

Current sells the technology and gear utilities can use to offer broadband. Internet access over the power grid allows you to plug in anywhere there is an electric outlet. Download and upload speeds are also symmetrical.

Now I may not be as technologically savvy as some of my colleagues, but I do understand the value in making things easier on customers. If I could consolidate my electric and Internet bills, while also reducing the number of devices needed to operate a home network, I’d be a happy man.

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