[LINK] Power-line broadband

Richard Chirgwin rchirgwin at ozemail.com.au
Tue Nov 18 18:34:22 AEDT 2008


I'll play the sceptic...

There have been both technical trials and at least one commercial trial.
The commercial trial wasn't continued; and that wasn't in a remote area,
it was in some regional cities in Tasmania. If the business case were
good, would it have been discontinued?

But as to the outer reaches of the network, the problem is the same for
powerline as for DSL and fibre. The most remote customer is also the
most expensive to service. BPL solutions need repeaters along the way;
the more remote the customer, the more repeaters needed (therefore, the
more expensive the link).

There's another point re BPL, a lack of standardisation at the physical
layer, which leads to proprietary equipment and all that goes with it...
standardisation is moving very, very slowly. For any sensible operator,
this is a significant reason not to deploy, and probably contributes to
the slow deployment of powerline systems worldwide.

It really is the curse of telecommunications: there is no technology
that's cheap over long distances, for single customers, retaining high
performance. And we thought the tyranny of distance was overcome by
telecommunications ... we have overcome distance, but only really
between population centres. The bits in between the bubbles remain


David Boxall wrote:
> Hi all,
> Broadband over power lines has been discussed previously on Link.  Any 
> thoughts on its possible role at the outer reaches of Australia's 
> proposed network?
> <http://www.vnunet.com/vnunet/news/2230428/ibm-gets-back-bpl-business>
>> IBM <http://www.ibm.com/uk/> is once again planning to set up a 
>> broadband over power line (BPL) system in the US.

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