BPL moving hesitantly forward

There is a new (well, not so new, but now more readily available) player in the broadband technology market: Broadband over Power Lines (BPL) is now available as a broadband Internet access service. The technology uses electrical power lines to move information to users. One advantage of this option is that power lines are available everywhere, so market penetration, in theory, should not be a problem. The downside here is that BPL comes in late. "There are already two well entrenched networking options in the broadband marketplace, so it can become difficult for a third one to gain acceptance," stated Bruce Leichtman, president of Leichtman Research Group.

Utilities have been to looking at BPL for a while now, but the FCC was not ready to give its stamp of approval. In April 2003 the FCC relented and unanimously affirmed deployment of such services and made changes to existing broadband regulations in order to encourage the development of BPL services. Utilities have been preparing these services ever since. BPL comes in two types: The first relies on the HomePlug standard and the second is basically a WAN service which operates much like WAN WiFi network. Analysts expect worldwide revenue for BPL services to grow from $54.7 million in 2004 to $4.4 billion in 2011.

For more on the state of BPL:
- see Paul Korzeniowski's Technewsworld report

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