September 11, 2006 1:25 PM PDT

Study: Promising future for power-line broadband

The demand for using traditional electrical lines as a medium for broadband technology in the residential sector is rising worldwide and will continue to grow, according to a study by market research firm In-Stat.

Broadband service over power lines (BPL), which allows an Internet connection to be established through a standard electrical outlet, is seen as a potential rival to coaxial (coax) and twisted-pair wiring, the fixed-line technologies most commonly used for cable and telephone service, respectively. Incorporating BPL into a residence or business requires no additional wire installation.

It may sound too good to be true, and indeed BPL has had a rocky history because of technical limitations, high development costs and its potential for interference with ham radio and emergency radio signals. But according to In-Stat's research, it's catching on. The number of broadband power-line equipment units sold passed the 2 million mark in 2005, and the research firm expects that the number will increase by 200 percent this year.

The main advantage of BPL, according to In-Stat analyst Joyce Putscher, is the fact that the availability of coaxial or twisted-pair connections can be limited. In many countries, specifically those in Europe and Asia, cable television is far less common than it is in the United States, and households in those countries tend to have fewer telephone jacks. BPL could consequently facilitate more-widespread broadband Internet connectivity in those markets.

Domestically, according to Putscher, choosing BPL can mean the customer will have more flexibility when accessing the service because connections can be set up at any power outlet. "Even in the U.S. there are still a lot of homes that, even with coax and phone jacks, may only have them running to one room," she said. "It's limited."

Even in some markets where cable and telephone services seem to have a lock on broadband services, local leaders still explore the BPL option. And if In-Stat's research proves accurate, more markets may be picking it up soon.

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17 comments

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"it's catching on" ???
Reading the referenced articles linked to the phrase, "But
according to In-Stat's research, it's catching on." makes me
wonder about the technical qualifications of C/Net's reporters
and editors.

This is not that complicated yet two similar and UN-related
things are confused as one in this article.

BPL- An ISP transmitting broadband internet access over power-
lines as an alternative to Cable, DSL, or 2-way Satellite. Internet
access comes into your home via your AC wall outlet and into a
modem which would then have to connect to your computer,
router, or LAN. Not available in the USA except in a few small
test markets.

Power-line Networking- The links for "But according to In-Stat's
research, it's catching on." are articles about power-line
networking technology that allows individuals to use their
existing home wiring to setup a LAN using their AC electrical
outlets. This replaces more traditional CAT-5 twisted pair and
WiFi local networks. The technology and equipment are
available today. Apple has been selling a device for months that
does this for around $100.

So C/Net - What's "catching on"? BPL or "Power-line
Networking"?
Posted by Sparky672 (244 comments )
Reply Link Flag
small correction
I'm correcting myself-

Apple's device is WiFi, not power-line networking.

However, my point was that this technology has been around.

There are devices that have been around for years that allow you
to set-up remote stereo speakers using the existing A/C wiring
instead of running new speaker cables. That was an analog
device where the newer stuff is digital.
Posted by Sparky672 (244 comments )
Link Flag
U.S. Broadband BPL Deployment Map !!!
Seven utilities already deploying BPL !!!

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.uplc.utc.org/file_depot/0-10000000/0-10000/7966/conman/BPL+Map+12_12.pdf" target="_newWindow">http://www.uplc.utc.org/file_depot/0-10000000/0-10000/7966/conman/BPL+Map+12_12.pdf</a>
Posted by 200mbpsBPL (102 comments )
Link Flag
Still vapor after all these years
How tedious it is to read another story about the great future of
broadband over powerlines. It has been just around the corner for
years, and has yet to seriously materialize. An interesting
News.com story might have been one that explained why the
technology remains a phantom. Why hasn't the power industry
brought it to market?
Posted by nicmart (1829 comments )
Reply Link Flag
C/Net is just really really confused.
Follow the links and you'll find this article is really about home
networking over A/C wiring, not BPL.

C/Net is hyping powerline networking which is really catching on as
a viable alternative to WiFi and Cat-5. Since the author is
confusing it with BPL, they provide a bunch of BPL background info.
All this while neglecting to mention that it's (BPL) not really
available in the US.
Posted by Sparky672 (244 comments )
Link Flag
CEO posibility?
Maybe Timothy Roberts is running the BPL movement, look what wonders he did for the Phantom Gaming Console!
Posted by tanis143 (122 comments )
Link Flag
BPL
Bpl is currently being tested all over the country.In my home state of NC,Progrees Energy along with Earthlink has been doing a pilot test near Raleigh in about 500 homes. The problem with BPL is that it's a disruptive technology. Imagine broadband at any location just as long as they have power lines running to your location. Verizon,with their recently deployed fiber wouldn't like that too much. Ham radio operators conplained that it will interfere with their equipment but the FCC recently decided that it wouldn't. BPL is a win-win for consumers as well as the power companies themselves. It would give the power companies a way to assess their lines following a storm without having a person ride around to visually inspect them.
BPL for the consumers will be decided politically not technologically.
Posted by verdade (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
sort of...
I agree that it would be great for everyone (Ham Radio might
disagree) and personally looking forward to another choice
pushing prices down even further.

To say it's being tested all over the country although accurate is
also misleading.

Sure, all across the country, but how many users in how many
test markets? Tens of millions of users already have access to
broadband. Maybe tens of thousands of users in these various
test markets have access to BPL. That's not even 1/10 of one
percent.

There remains much to be done before we'll have this as a real
option.
Posted by Sparky672 (244 comments )
Link Flag
Ambient's Corp.`s BPL System FCC Certified for Commercial Deployment !!!
read:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://broadbandoverpowerlines.blogspot.com/2006/09/ambients-bpl-system-fcc-certified-for.html" target="_newWindow">http://broadbandoverpowerlines.blogspot.com/2006/09/ambients-bpl-system-fcc-certified-for.html</a>

Ambient Corp.`s Broadband over Powerline System is the first high-speed BPL access product to receive FCC Certification for Commercial Deployment !!!

Ambient's BPL System FCC Certified for Commercial Deployment

BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 7, 2006--

Second-generation Communications Nodes Granted FCC BPL Equipment Authorization


Ambient Corporation (OTCBB: ABTG), a leader in Broadband over Power Lines (BPL) solutions, today announced that it has received a grant of BPL Equipment Authorization from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for its second-generation communication node, known as the X(2). This grant means that Ambient's X(2) has been certified by the FCC to be fully compliant with FCC rules and requirements for Access BPL equipment.

Ambient's X(2) was lab and field tested by an independent FCC-certified laboratory. The nodes were tested with Ambient's full product suite of couplers, including overhead, underground, medium- and low-voltage, at multiple locations, in different geographical areas. The test results and required documentation were then submitted to the FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology (OET). Ambient's X(2) has been certified to be fully compliant with all FCC rules and requirements for Access BPL equipment based on the lab's test report and successful demonstration of required functionality, including remotely-controlled and flexible notching capabilities.

BPL allows utilities to build exciting new communications platforms, which can enable the offering of an additional option for competitive broadband services - particularly in rural or other underserved areas - to residences and municipal or commercial offices. Utilities can employ the technology for enhanced grid management and administration, outage detection, automated meter reading, and other applications, all of which can increase the performance and reliability of existing distribution networks.

"FCC Certification allows us to market, sell and install our newest generation of nodes - which we have already successfully installed in the field - for commercial deployments," commented John J. Joyce, President and CEO of Ambient Corporation.

Continued Mr. Joyce, "Being the first high-speed BPL access product to receive certification demonstrates Ambient's technical leadership in the industry. We invite the public to see us present our entire product suite at the UPLC Broadband Power Line 2006 conference in Charlotte, NC during September 17th-20th."

The Ambient Broadband over Power Lines (BPL) technology enables utilities to deploy a high-speed communications network over existing power line infrastructures. The BPL network can be utilized to provide a variety of consumer or utility services and applications simultaneously. Consumer applications suite may include broadband Internet access and telephony (VoIP - Voice over Internet Protocol) while utility applications may include system monitoring, demand side management and advanced metering.

Ambient offers solutions for building networks over Medium Voltage (2 kV to 25 kV) and Low Voltage (up to 600 V) distribution lines. The product line includes couplers, modems, and communications nodes. Ambient is a complete solution provider with system engineering, integration, and consulting services.
Posted by 200mbpsBPL (102 comments )
Reply Link Flag
FCC approves Ambient Corporation`s X2: 200 Mbps Next-Generation BPL
Click here: Ambient Corp.`s X-node:

UNDERGROUND AND OVERHEAD POWERLINE gear !!!

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.ambientcorp.com/PDFs/Ambient%20XNode.pdf" target="_newWindow">http://www.ambientcorp.com/PDFs/Ambient%20XNode.pdf</a>

Click for FCC website link:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="https://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/prod/oet/cf/eas/reports/ViewExhibitReport.cfm?mode=Exhibits&#38;RequestTimeout=500&#38;calledFromFrame=N&#38;application_id=203009&#38;fcc_id=" target="_newWindow">https://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/prod/oet/cf/eas/reports/ViewExhibitReport.cfm?mode=Exhibits&#38;RequestTimeout=500&#38;calledFromFrame=N&#38;application_id=203009&#38;fcc_id=</a>'SPKBHPLCAA'
Posted by 200mbpsBPL (102 comments )
Link Flag
Broadband Power Line 2006 DUKE LIVE BPL system demo !!!
fyi Broadband Power Line 2006

September 17-20, 2006
Omni Charlotte
Charlotte, NC

Sponsored by Ambient Corporation and Earthlink !!!

Big utilities are here to speak and EDUCATE others about BPL !!!

RE: <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.uplc.org/" target="_newWindow">http://www.uplc.org/</a>

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://uplc.utc.org/page/63253/;jsessionid=zhk4kjplxb5k" target="_newWindow">http://uplc.utc.org/page/63253/;jsessionid=zhk4kjplxb5k</a>
Posted by 200mbpsBPL (102 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Other Powerline equipment
I use X10 home automation devices - how is BPL going to interfere with these devices? Am I going to have to replace all of my equipment because of interference?
Posted by Bytrat (99 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Duke Energy powers BPL service !!!
read: Duke Energy used 200 Mbps BPL technology from Ambient/DS2-based gear !!!

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.ambientcorp.com/updates/BPL%20Today%20-%20Duke%20Pushes%20Ahead%20with%20Ambient%20Gear.pdf" target="_newWindow">http://www.ambientcorp.com/updates/BPL%20Today%20-%20Duke%20Pushes%20Ahead%20with%20Ambient%20Gear.pdf</a>
Posted by 200mbpsBPL (102 comments )
Link Flag
News: Power Lines is analogous to Fiberoptic wires/cable !!!
Article from: <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.americasnetwork.com/americasnetwork/article/articleDetail.jsp?id=370992&#38;ref=25" target="_newWindow">http://www.americasnetwork.com/americasnetwork/article/articleDetail.jsp?id=370992&#38;ref=25</a>

BPL to the rescue?
Sep 12, 2006
By Dr. Robert C. Raciti

Broadband over Powerline (BPL) is an emerging technology that has great potential for enabling all forms of service providers to offer robust products and services. Unfortunately, competition from cable modems, DSL, and wireless broadband along with the poor track record of success stories have curbed the enthusiasm for many ambitious BPL business plans.

Enter Virtual Dark Fiber, a new concept that makes power lines throughout the world analogous to dark fiber that needs to be lit by BPL equipment. This virtual dark fiber approach to the communications market gives local power companies dark fiber inventory throughout the world.

Once a customer purchases an Indefeasible Right to Use (IRU) between two points, the IRU owner rather than the power company invests in the infrastructure required to deploy high-speed data connectivity. The concept is simple: Rather than spend money deploying large-scale BPL solutions to provide residential broadband, the power companies should simply publish their inventory of power lines and sell the rights to use these lines for point-to-point BPL solutions.

Deploying BPL in this way will allow power companies to focus on their core energy business and monetize their power lines for BPL purposes. This approach creates connectivity alternatives for all of the communications infrastructure providers including incumbent telcos, wireless operators, cable companies, ISPs, and CLECs, among others.

We all know that there is no one technology that can provide end-to-end solutions. Even wireless infrastructures rely on terrestrial backhaul. BPL is no different. Therefore, rather than focus on forcing a single technology to provide end-to-end solutions, the focus should be on including BPL as one of the numerous technologies that incumbent service providers can deploy to cost-effectively service their customers. Whether it be wireless broadband operators that need high bandwidth to towers, cable operators that need high bandwidth to certain neighborhoods, or even incumbent telcos that need to provision additional bandwidth over a river or to an office park, BPL can help most service providers deploy communications solutions throughout their markets.

This low-cost alternative can also help accelerate the adoption of broadband that will drive the digital distribution of content including video, audio, games, IPTV, and the next generation of interactive digital content.

The Virtual Dark Fiber concept would help accelerate the global broadband market. It would also help power companies monetize their assets for BPL, help the service providers solve connectivity challenges, and help the BPL equipment vendors sell to customers once thought of as the competition.

(Dr. Robert C. Raciti is a senior vice president with GE Commercial Finances Global Media &#38; Communications business, specializing in marketing &#38; technology risk. For more information, please visit www.gegmc.com)
Posted by 200mbpsBPL (102 comments )
Reply Link Flag
News: Power Lines is analogous to Fiberoptic wires/cable !!!
BPL to the rescue?
Sep 12, 2006
By Dr. Robert C. Raciti

Broadband over Powerline (BPL) is an emerging technology that has great potential for enabling all forms of service providers to offer robust products and services. Unfortunately, competition from cable modems, DSL, and wireless broadband along with the poor track record of success stories have curbed the enthusiasm for many ambitious BPL business plans.

Enter Virtual Dark Fiber, a new concept that makes power lines throughout the world analogous to dark fiber that needs to be lit by BPL equipment. This virtual dark fiber approach to the communications market gives local power companies dark fiber inventory throughout the world.

Once a customer purchases an Indefeasible Right to Use (IRU) between two points, the IRU owner rather than the power company invests in the infrastructure required to deploy high-speed data connectivity. The concept is simple: Rather than spend money deploying large-scale BPL solutions to provide residential broadband, the power companies should simply publish their inventory of power lines and sell the rights to use these lines for point-to-point BPL solutions.

Deploying BPL in this way will allow power companies to focus on their core energy business and monetize their power lines for BPL purposes. This approach creates connectivity alternatives for all of the communications infrastructure providers including incumbent telcos, wireless operators, cable companies, ISPs, and CLECs, among others.

We all know that there is no one technology that can provide end-to-end solutions. Even wireless infrastructures rely on terrestrial backhaul. BPL is no different. Therefore, rather than focus on forcing a single technology to provide end-to-end solutions, the focus should be on including BPL as one of the numerous technologies that incumbent service providers can deploy to cost-effectively service their customers. Whether it be wireless broadband operators that need high bandwidth to towers, cable operators that need high bandwidth to certain neighborhoods, or even incumbent telcos that need to provision additional bandwidth over a river or to an office park, BPL can help most service providers deploy communications solutions throughout their markets.

This low-cost alternative can also help accelerate the adoption of broadband that will drive the digital distribution of content including video, audio, games, IPTV, and the next generation of interactive digital content.

The Virtual Dark Fiber concept would help accelerate the global broadband market. It would also help power companies monetize their assets for BPL, help the service providers solve connectivity challenges, and help the BPL equipment vendors sell to customers once thought of as the competition.

(Dr. Robert C. Raciti is a senior vice president with GE Commercial Finances Global Media &#38; Communications business, specializing in marketing &#38; technology risk. For more information, please visit www.gegmc.com)
Posted by 200mbpsBPL (102 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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