Powerlines deployed in broadband trial

Electricity power lines are being deployed in a broadband trial that could deliver high-speed Internet access to areas outside the reach of cable networks and digital subscriber line (DSL) technologies.

The trials are being conducted by Scottish Hydro-Electric. After a successful pilot project that has been running since July, the company is now planning two more ambitious trials in Scotland and southern England, said telecoms infrastructure manager Antony Lowe.

“What we have done so far is very much a technical trial,” Lowe told Computing magazine, “Now we want to look at a market trial. If this goes well and we see continued development on the commercial side then it could grow significantly,” he said.

The technology is capable of delivering up to two megabytes per second for a fee of £25 per month.

‘Powerline networking’ was first developed in the mid-1990s by Norweb, the north east electricity company now owned by United Utilities, and networking software supplier Novell. However, subsequent trials were later abandoned when the cost of Internet access fell and DSL was introduced.

Pete Swabey

Pete Swabey

Pete was Editor of Information Age and head of technology research for Vitesse Media plc from 2005 to 2013, before moving on to be Senior Editor and then Editorial Director at The Economist Intelligence...

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