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Electric Companies Get Involved With Broadband

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the who-isn't-these-days dept.

221

Billosaur writes "The Marketplace Morning Report on NPR has an interesting piece on how electric companies are getting into the high-speed Internet business with 'Broadband over Power Lines', or BPL." From the article: "By purchasing the right equipment power companies can quickly offer Internet service to millions of new customers. There are several pilot projects being launched in the US, including one in the Pittsburgh suburb of Monroeville. That service is being offered by Duquesne Broadband -- a spinout of the local power company.'"

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221 comments

Please wake me when it's done... (2, Interesting)

DaHat (247651) | more than 7 years ago | (#15312696)

Sure the technology to be able to do this well keeps improving... I'm kinda getting sick of hearing about this and fiber to the curb every few months when it is no closer to wide scale roll out than it was 10 years ago when I first started hearing such ideas.

Don't get me wrong, I'd love to have both, but please... quit trying to get my hopes up!

Re:Please wake me when it's done... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15312804)

I have a friend right now that has fiber to the curb has for 18 months just outside of Portland Oregon. He gets 15Mb for 80 bucks a month.

Re:Please wake me when it's done... (1)

TheJediGeek (903350) | more than 7 years ago | (#15312817)

Indeed, the idea isn't new. I'd hope that there would be more motivation to get this out with all the stuff going on about current broadband providers. Adding another choice through power lines would be a welcome change.
However, it may be less welcome to people who have huge corporations for power companies. Where I live, we have a small co-op association for power so I'm not worried about them providing broadband.

Re:Please wake me when it's done... (1)

Vancorps (746090) | more than 7 years ago | (#15312997)

We have a small telecom company as a sponsor of ours, they are doing BOPL in this area at 200megabit to the house! Check out Corinex and you'll see this technology isn't theory anymore. We are using this technology to create a LAN at my boss's new multi-million dollar house. Well, its new to him, the problem is there is no wiring for network so we're using power adapters to hook up wireless access points as well as connect a few computers. The result is a fast network which even supports VLANs!

The technology is almost cheap too at $200 for a pair of adapters. Makes a great way to connect two disparate rooms in a house without having to get our your remote controlled car and tie some cable to it, then put it in the ac duct.

Re:Please wake me when it's done... (2, Funny)

FireFury03 (653718) | more than 7 years ago | (#15313509)

The technology is almost cheap too at $200 for a pair of adapters.

Have you included the cost of repairing the system after the local HAM radio operators put an axe through the power lines? (BPL wipes out huge chunks of the RF spectrum)

Re:Please wake me when it's done... (1)

mikerozh (710568) | more than 7 years ago | (#15312996)

IP over powerlines is already deployed in many places in Europe. My previous employer had 2 very big projects involcing access and routing equipment in Germany. It was 5 or 6 years ago.

NEEDS MORE COWBELL (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15312700)

I'VE GOT A FEVER AND THE ONLY CURE IS FROST POST!

KATHLEEN FENT I LOVE YOU!ortant Stuff * Please try to keep posts on topic. * Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads. * Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. * Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. * Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) * If you want replies to your comments sent to you, consider logging in or creating aortant Stuff * Please try to keep posts on topic. * Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads. * Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. * Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. * Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) * If you want replies to your comments sent to you, consider logging in or creating a

ortant Stuff * Please try to keep posts on topic. * Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads. * Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. * Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. * Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) * If you want replies to your comments sent to you, consider logging in or creating aortant Stuff * Please try to keep posts on topic. * Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads. * Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. * Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. * Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) * If you want replies to your comments sent to you, consider logging in or creating aortant Stuff * Please try to keep posts on topic. * Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads. * Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. * Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. * Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) * If you want replies to your comments sent to you, consider logging in or creating a

ortant Stuff * Please try to keep posts on topic. * Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads. * Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. * Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. * Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) * If you want replies to your comments sent to you, consider logging in or creating a

Stale news. (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15312701)

Was this posted by an old Korean?

Would be ok if... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15312723)

The power line wasn't a giant freaking unshielded antenna! This tehcnology has been effecting communications gear all over the place. Its a very very bad idea in its current form.

http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/HTML/plc/ [arrl.org]

Re:Would be ok if... (1)

thePig (964303) | more than 7 years ago | (#15312822)

Just wondering -
The broadband range that we are talking about is a min 2 Mbps range, correct?
In that case how can a power line (whose frequency is 50 Hz), cause any issues?
Even conisdering the harmonics of the same, it needs quite a bit of the harmonics - 50th or more to have any effect on the data. By that time, the base ampiltude would have died down to a negligible value (even if the starting value is high).

And if they are talking about a higher broadband range, the better.

Re:Would be ok if... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15312908)

Do some Googling. The problem is exactly that the power lines are designed to transmit power at 50/60 Hz. BPL works by forcing these lines to transmit RF signals. The reason why BPL is such a technical disaster is that power lines and transformers don't act like proper RF transmission lines... they act like antennas.

The right way to implement BPL is for the power companies to use their rights-of-way to run fiber to the customer premises.... or at least to the pole outside, where an 802.11 link handles the last 100 meters.

Re:Would be ok if... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15312914)

Well.. to begin with... AC is 60 Hz in the US. However, the information isn't being transmitted at that frequency. It couldn't be. You can't fit very much information at all into the bandwidth available in that frequency range. It's being transmitted on frequencies from MF to lowband VHF.

Re:Would be ok if... (5, Informative)

bobthecow (67269) | more than 7 years ago | (#15312936)

Do you mean to be comparing the speed of the data (Mbps) to the frequency of the powerline? Where are you trying to get at with that calculation?

The issue at hand here is that powerlines are unshielded. They were never intended to carry RF, and act as very, very big antennas when they are used in this way.

Once you load up a power line with a radio signal, you have the potential to start messing with communications all over the spectrum. The noisiest response to this has been from Amateur Radio operators, but government agencies who might be affected also think BPL is a bad idea. It's not a particularly good idea to knock out communications by the Red Cross, Salvation Army, and other emergency response agencies.

To use an analogy, think about how the water lines in your house would respond if you pressurized them beyond their capacity. They'd leak, yes? Or how about using them to carry corrosive chemicals instead of water? They weren't designed to do that, and it will cause problems.

Re:Would be ok if... (1)

thePig (964303) | more than 7 years ago | (#15313014)

I understood the question wrong.
I read it as - the harmonics of power line (50Hz) would interfere with the signal that carries the data, rather than the power line acting as a stub and radiating the signals out.
My bad.

Re:Would be ok if... (1)

Vancorps (746090) | more than 7 years ago | (#15313055)

There is a BOPL deployment here in Arizona, Peoria more specifically and the radios work just fine. I'm a little confused where that idea came from. My coworker is a ham radio operator and guess what? He lives in Peoria about a mile from where they located their testbed. Boy was he pissed since its 200megabit. He begged our ISP to expand it a little more so he could get it. Our ISP is one of our sponsors so we actually have a bit of pull. Only problem was there was no fiber connecting his substation so they couldn't do it easily.

Re:Would be ok if... (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 7 years ago | (#15313136)

> There is a BOPL deployment here in Arizona, Peoria more
> specifically and the radios work just fine. I'm a little
> confused where that idea came from.

The first version they tried to deploy in the US caused severe interference.

"Severe" interference? (1)

hackwrench (573697) | more than 7 years ago | (#15313294)

From what I heard the only complainers were the ARRL [wikipedia.org] , who are not the end all and be all of radio transmission.

Re:Would be ok if... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#15313173)

Only a mile? Does he have line of sight to a friendly installation with access? If so, he could get something like 5-10 Mbps using primestar dishes - for up to ten miles. I'm thinking a couple of cantennas would more than do the job here, you could probably get 3 to 5 miles that way.

Re:Would be ok if... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15313254)

If it's 200 megabit service, then they are running fiber, and not using RF at all. That's fine.

Re:Would be ok if... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15312952)

I have limited understanding of how a BPL signal is encoded on the line; but in general: The problem isn't interference between the 50- or 60-hZ (depending on which country's grid) power wave and the broadband signal on the line. The problem is that the broadband signal (which, to carry any significant bit rate, has to be at a much higher frequency than 50hZ) gets radiated from the power lines as it is transmitted, interfering with unrelated communications equipment in the area. (Were this deployed in a major city, "the area" would be everywhere in the city.)

I'd also like to know more about the quality of the power waveform once a communication signal has been imposed on it.

Re:Would be ok if... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15313311)

don't transformers also also act as LPFs? Whouldn't that severely screw with a digital (theoretically infinite BW). How can something go through a LPF and still switch 2e8/sec? Or are they not using binary?

Assume LPF interferes with 120 HZ and above

2e8 bps / 120 bits = 1666666.6666666666666666666666667 b/bit ~ 2^21 = 2097152, so they'd need 2097152 levels to send 200Mbps or 21 parallel lines to send 2 level. Even assuming they can do some sort of Inphase and Quadrature thing (require ~2^10 level) it still seems like there are too many levels.

Can someone explain why I'm wrong?

Re:Would be ok if... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15313267)

Wow...you are somehow getting 2Mbps out a 50Hz carrier wave? Nyquist would be proud of you

Re:Would be ok if... (5, Interesting)

dpaton.net (199423) | more than 7 years ago | (#15312883)

It's more than a bad idea, it's a forking NIGHTMARE. Even for non-hams like me, the radiated fields from the lines will cause all kinds of problems. BPL produces a horiffic amount of conducted line noise, in violation of the FCC's own regulations [fcc.gov] , and further pollute an already overcrowded section of bandwidth (DC to light). BPL may be good for the power companies' profit margins, but it's bad for EVERYONE.

And that's my professional opinion.

-dave
EE, currently working on EMC compliance

Re:Would be ok if... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15312939)

All you have to do is look around and see the plastic orange net is surrounding everything now.

a.) They want to make money
b.) They want to destroy free communications
c.) They want to destroy free speech
d.) They want certain frequencies to be useless

Re:Would be ok if... (1)

Doctor Memory (6336) | more than 7 years ago | (#15312990)

Actually, the newer stuff isn't anywhere near as bad as the stuff they were testing even a couple of years ago. Motorola and Current Technologies both have systems that avoid putting any HF on the MV lines (those long, unshielded ones that run along the highway and through neighborhoods). Motorola uses its Canopy wireless system, and Current uses low-band VHF (30-50MHz) coupled with HomePlug modems.

That said, many of the BPL field tests are still being conducted with previous-generation equipment.

It's interesting to note that many BPL field trials are cut short, with no deployment planned by the testing company. I'm curious to see if any of the newer-technology trials generate any better results.

Re:Would be ok if... (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | more than 7 years ago | (#15313530)

Motorola uses its Canopy wireless system, and Current uses low-band VHF (30-50MHz) coupled with HomePlug modems.

Are they paying for all the crashed radio controlled planes that run on 35MHz then?

Re:Would be ok if... (0)

AmigaAvenger (210519) | more than 7 years ago | (#15313561)

sorry, but you have ZERO idea what you are talking about!! (but this is slashdot i guess...)

rc planes run on 72mhz, the cheap ones run on 27mhz. (right next to CB radio) Ground RC runs on 75mhz, and also shares the 27mhz chunk. Ham band allows RC use on 50 and 53 mhz. guess what, NONE are close to your 35mhz.

as usual wiki [wikipedia.org] has a good reference and also a primer about frequencies you can read up on.

It gets worse - (2, Interesting)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 7 years ago | (#15313020)

Harmonics [uwyo.edu] was a rotten problem in power lines since 1990 (when I last had to study the National Electrical Code, long before I did the computer thang for a living) - even back then you didn't get a perfect 60Hz sine wave, since things like televisions, blenders, industrial equipment, etc etc would introduce noise into the line at multiples of 60Hz (among others), which shortened the MTBF of, well... anything with a power supply or rectifier attached to it. IIRC (though I'm prolly wrong given the time span, but...) even motors tended to wear out faster if they were under a certain size.

I realize that a power company would be smart enough to be aware of this and likely provide filters to strip that out for folks who use the service, but how are they going to filter the crap out for those who don't have a data box at their house to strip the signal, and how much would it cost? More importantly, wil lthat cost be an enforced one?

Either way I really don't like the idea at all, even if I never use the thing.

/P

Re:Would be ok if... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15313589)

uhhhh...don't you mean "affecting"? clearly not the same concept as "effecting".

Just what I needed... (1)

Mikachu (972457) | more than 7 years ago | (#15312727)

Just what I needed... PSE&G controlling my internet service too. Maybe I would embrace this technology if there wasn't such a monopoly on my power provider?

I can only imagine (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15312741)

What kind of "Rolling Blackouts" can we expect from this service?

Municipal Power & Fiber (4, Interesting)

mysqlrocks (783488) | more than 7 years ago | (#15312742)

Where I live (Burlington, VT) the city provides both electricity [burlingtonelectric.com] and fiber optic service [burlingtontelecom.net] . It's Interesting that it was more practical to run new fiber optics throughout the city than to use existing power lines, since the city already owns the electric department.

Re:Municipal Power & Fiber (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15313027)

No one ever accused government of doing something in the most intelligent and cost effective manner...

Re:Municipal Power & Fiber (1)

Vancorps (746090) | more than 7 years ago | (#15313033)

Dang, don't see many fellow Vermonters on here. Last I remembered Green Mountain Power wasn't city owned. I've been away for about 5 years so things may have changed. I do recall that there were strict pricing controls. Vermont has a lot of fiber in it already though so I wouldn't be surprised if they just got a really good deal on all the equipment. Connecting all the major cities of New England takes a lot of glass and thats good for VT! I remember getting DSL in the push back in 1996 and when I moved to AZ in 2001 I was very confused at the lack of high speed service. Fortunately we've caught up here a bit.

How does this work? (3, Insightful)

iamlucky13 (795185) | more than 7 years ago | (#15312754)

Previous discussion of broadband over powerlines that I've read discussed it as an alternative to wireless or wiring your home...really small networks that then plug into a traditional connection. I'm curious how you would handle multiple users on one line. You're not just running half a dozen or so connections into a hub and multiplexing the signals. The power grid is huge! Along those lines, what about capacitance and interference? Wouldn't those kill the range?

Re:How does this work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15313051)

Its like an ethernet LAN: All the packets are sent to all destinations, and the BPL router only reads the packets with your MAC number on it.

Yes, there is a problem with capacity, but I think the base speed available to be split amoung users is very large. Because the powerlines are AC, with a high frequency, the amount of information capacity is similarly large.

While most digital communcations are on-off, like morse code or an AM radio signal, the BPL trasmits information by slight shifts in the phasing of the underlying wave, as is doen for FM radio.

A side effect of this is that some cheap digital clocks which depend on that phasing as a timing tick/tock become inaccurate when BPL is turned on in your neighborhood

Re:How does this work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15313135)

Our ping times are terrible and we have high percentage of packets lost.

It took the power company 10-15 trips up the pole down the street before they got the signal adjusted so we could have BPL.

The VOIP that comes with it has worse that the worst cell phone.

BPL is a long way from perfect, but we are too far from the exhange for ADSL...

Re:How does this work? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#15313197)

There's no reason they can't be tying into fiber at some points, maybe even running their own fiber parallel to high-tension lines, and putting concentrators at substations to take residental data connections and dump them over to the fiber for the longer haul. No idea how they ARE doing it, though, but that's a mission for google.

Re:How does this work? (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | more than 7 years ago | (#15313593)

I'm curious how you would handle multiple users on one line. You're not just running half a dozen or so connections into a hub and multiplexing the signals. The power grid is huge!

Any signal you put on the line is pretty much not gonna make it past the first transformer it hits, so it'll be limited to the phase you're connected to - probably not actually an especially big area.

The BPL schemes that the power companies are pushing (which are doomed to failure because the power lines have a nasty habit of radiating the RF signals) involve injecting the RF signal into each phase separately - i.e. the power lines are used as the equivalent of the telco's local loop. They don't bother backhauling the data over the long distance HT lines - once you get to the substation the data connection will be transferred to fiber and be treated in the conventional way.

BPL = useless. (-1, Troll)

Khyber (864651) | more than 7 years ago | (#15312757)

Please tell me how you're going to modify one of the existing sockets in my bedroom without tearing into my attic and fucking with my circuit breaker, OR without the hassle and expense of installing a different power line, hrm?

Re:BPL = useless. (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15312794)

RTFA you fucking cocksmoker

Re:BPL = useless. (3, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#15312917)

I could tell you, but someone already did. In fact they put it in a nice format,and the submitter even made it so you only have to click a link.
WTF do you want, someone to read it to you?

Re:BPL = useless. (0, Flamebait)

trutek (967641) | more than 7 years ago | (#15313097)

your dumb as hell. just because it's there does'nt mean you have to use it. promote inovation. give the telecos something to sweat over. don't piss on the grass because it's brown in the winter. p.s. i'd bet the only thing you could beat an opionon out of is your meat

Re:BPL = useless. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15313246)

your dumb as hell. just because it's there does'nt mean you have to use it. promote inovation

Good idea to check your spelling/grammar when calling somebody dumb, Billy Bob. Another fine product of the education system.

Re:BPL = useless. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15313098)

You have circuit breaker in your attic? Who wired your fucking house?

Rural areas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15312767)

Hopefully, rural power companies will start offering this soon.

No cable and no DSL available make me something something.

is this something new? (0, Flamebait)

iogan (943605) | more than 7 years ago | (#15312778)

or is it the same broadband-over-electricity-lines that we've had in Europe for years?

More competition is better, whatever it is! (4, Interesting)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 7 years ago | (#15312781)

BPL advocates will tell you that it's not fttp. And it's not going to be at cable speeds for a long while, but has lots of possibilities.

But here are the salient positive points:

1) these guys are by their nature, net-neutral and while they're utilities, they don't live behind ancient telco models
2) reliability is a serious culture within the power community; these guys have trucks and know how to use them
3) the electrical utilities have the largest amount of unused communications easements and right-of-ways in the USA
4) the utilities in the EU are riding this wave quickly; they go everywhere, while the old tired fat ex-PTTs slumber
5) more competition keeps the telco and cable companies honest. We need alternatives.

So, I say: party on, BPL!

Re:More competition is better, whatever it is! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15312881)


2) reliability is a serious culture within the power community; these guys have trucks and know how to use them


OK, so I agree that telcos are evil and stuff, but they are pretty down with reliability also.

My telphone has insane uptime compared to my cable. I'd guess that I get more uptime out of telephone than power, but that's a close thing.

Cable, on the other hand, goes down when you look at it cross eyed.

Re:More competition is better, whatever it is! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15313590)

"Cable, on the other hand, goes down when you look at it cross eyed..."

So don't look at it cross-eyed.

Duh.

--

Re:More competition is better, whatever it is! (2, Insightful)

theodicey (662941) | more than 7 years ago | (#15312977)

Having three competitors in a market makes it much harder to collude. So anything that breaks up the cable/telco duopoly is fine with me.

Especially since SBC/AT&T and the bastard sons of Ma Bell have proven themselves to be Big Brother's best man and groomsmen.

IF BPL technology is so good (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15312795)

Why isn't the phone company rolling it out on their cooper lines?

Re:IF BPL technology is so good (2, Informative)

Amouth (879122) | more than 7 years ago | (#15313340)

completely diffrent hardware and wires.. this type of hardware was desigend to be used in conjunctions with AC power at mid voltages and high current

telco's are set up for mid-low coltages and low current DC..

that and there switching equipment would never work with somethign like this.. they would have to replace everything..

when you look at power and signal detla on AC it doesn't care if it goes through a transformer or two the delta is still proportonal to the average voltage..

it would just make no sence to use it on phone lines

Article doesn't talk about interference (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15312809)

The article doesn't discuss BPL intereferce issue with HAM radio and other related problems. Did this issue finally get resolved, or this battle about to heat up again?

Nope (4, Interesting)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 7 years ago | (#15313091)

No, they're just steam-rollering ahead realizing that they have far, far more potential customers to reach than hobbyists (valuable hobbyists, but hobbyists nonetheless) to put out.

I'd personally like the FCC to put an axe in this idea, but it's never going to happen. Once they get enough of a userbase, it'll be impossible to shut them down politically. Ham radio will just die and the public simply won't know what they've lost because they don't use it themselves.

two evils (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15312835)

I once had reservations about this technology and the amount of RF noise it would fling out into the atmosphere. However, after having to deal with Alltel for DSL service I will say that it would be the lesser of two evils for me.

The monopolizing that I see going on for broadband pricing is sickening. Cable or telephone based providers see fit to gouge the consumers that can least afford it. I am thinking those that can justify not subscribing to those basic service offerings. Everyone has to have power in this society. Heck, if you don't the state will take your kids away. I think that information access provided by the internet is going to be more and more crucial to people making educated and informed decisions in their life. It should be a national infrastructure initiative. BPL seems the most cost effective way to get that accomplished.

Power Co pays ME for a pos. net flow of data! (4, Funny)

potus98 (741836) | more than 7 years ago | (#15312846)

Most power companies are required to buy extra electriciy if you generate more power for the grid than you consume. This usually only applies to folks with solar panels and other sources of power that end up contributing to the grid. They get to watch their power meters run backwards!

I wonder if the same principle could be applied to net data flows! I would love to be paid by the power company for massive file sharing since I would be contributing more to the 'net than I consume.

Re:Power Co pays ME for a pos. net flow of data! (1)

Doctor Memory (6336) | more than 7 years ago | (#15313086)

They get to watch their power meters run backwards!

Heh. Most of the time, the power co just dumps the power into a big load (read: resistor), because it's not worth the trouble trying to phase-shift the consumer-generated power to sync it to the neighborhood supply. Especially given the fact that the frequency can vary with load (e.g., during the summer, your power frequency may drop to 55-56Hz at 5:30 when everyone's running the A/C and the stove while making dinner). At least, that's what I was told when I was considering a large UPS/generator I was offered cheap in Feb of 2000...

Another Alternative (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#15312859)

I would be very happy to have another alternative to Comcast. DSL is not an option in my neighborhood, and broadly available WiFi not even a glimmer. When my only current broadband ISP starts QoS traffic shaping that benefits them, not me, I want a new place to leave them for. After all, with satellite, I don't need them for TV either.

1. PLEASE STOP POV SUMMARIES. 2. Tag "reallynew" (0, Offtopic)

Avillia (871800) | more than 7 years ago | (#15312866)

[insert contempt for idiotic article summaries which scream a point of view and are ripped directly from the article which everyone is too lazy to properly summarize]

[insert mocking of the 500th internet over power lines story on Slashdot]

[insert comment begging for positive karma]

So true! (1)

GillBates0 (664202) | more than 7 years ago | (#15312870)

By purchasing the right equipment power companies can quickly offer Internet service to millions of new customers

And they can start with purchasing a power station. I've heard rumors that the internets won't work without electric power.

I love this only because it causes quaking (2, Insightful)

Spirckle (872312) | more than 7 years ago | (#15312878)

...in the boots of the telcos and cable companies. If broadband over the power grid were technically and economically doable, it eliminates the need for telcos if you have voip and for cable with a big enough pipe.

Amateur Radio (1)

110010001000 (697113) | more than 7 years ago | (#15312887)

BPL screws with Ham radio which is a good reason not to support this! Support your local HAM, they did so much during Katrina and 9/11 - we owe it to them.

First things first (2, Insightful)

Jim in Buffalo (939861) | more than 7 years ago | (#15312891)

Before this can be rolled out, the power companies will want to run a massive national smear campaign against ham radio operators, you know, just to make sure no-one listens to them when they complain about interference.

analog is bad quality anyways (1)

bigtrike (904535) | more than 7 years ago | (#15313182)

With all that extra bandwidth, these ham radio types can just do their thing over the internet.

Re:analog is bad quality anyways (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 7 years ago | (#15313480)

just in case you aren't listening ham radio by definition works best when
THE INFRASTRUCTER IS NO LONGER THERE!!

ie its a mesh tech

and i was just reading (5, Informative)

wherley (42799) | more than 7 years ago | (#15312896)

in the latest QST http://www.arrl.org/qst/ [arrl.org] about the FCC ignoring amateur radio ongoing complaints about BPL system interference.
new BPL complaint here: http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2006/05/05/100/ [arrl.org]
system operator response here:
http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/HTML/plc/files/COMTek .pdf [arrl.org]

Time for counter interference... (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 7 years ago | (#15313264)

Hmm, perhaps some devices attached to ground wires on the powerlines to generate some counter interference are in order as a means of protest...

And In Other News... (4, Funny)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#15312913)

And in other news, the combined cable television industry announced today that it's possible to provide power-over broadband-lines. Their spokesman said:

"What is coax but insulated copper conductor. With Edison's DC delivery methods, tried and proven over a hundred years ago, a single conductor with ground return has always been feasible. Now we will free you from the greedy power companies and their unfair monopolies one and for all. Bwahahaha!"

The combined telcos have scheduled a news-conference for later this afternoon.

Broadband over Power Lines? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15312934)

That's shocking!

Community Utilities (1)

9mm Censor (705379) | more than 7 years ago | (#15312953)

Come on, this is not hard. Have a housing development of say 500 houses. For the developer to add a community based utility system would b so easy. Add some wind and solar power, to power the peoples houses, sell the surplus, or even buy electricity for the whole nieghbourhood and get a discount deal. Do the same with water, or gas. If you want to have a geeky neighbourhood you could easily and cheaply do this for internet and phone, just run a phat fiber pipe, and run fiber into each house, and provide a nice internet pipe and VOIP on the same line. Bonus points for developers who have a Data Center on location and provide secure backups there.

Monopoly Breaking to Order (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15312971)

*Anything* to get competition happening, so we are no longer held hostage to the telco monopolists! This has been around for a long time. It's time to put some beans into this technology and make it mainstream.

Marketplace is APM, not NPR (1)

Palshife (60519) | more than 7 years ago | (#15312981)

Marketplace is produced by American Public Media, not NPR. It often is broadcast alongside NPR shows by your local public radio station, but NPR has nothing to do with Marketplace.

Barely as fast as ISDN (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15312999)

Why would anyone settle for this kind of service while the rest of the world gets 100Mbps ethernet to their premise or even better fiber at gigabit/sec rates?

BPL puts a whopping huge RADIO SIGNAL on to the power line which then requires a modem at the customer end to pull it back off. This radio signal radiates from the power line on most HF and low VHF frequencies causing severe and harmful interference to other radio services.

Amateur radio communications on these frequencies will be almost entirely precluded. Remember that during hurricane Katrina and most other natural disasters around this country and the world, amateur radio is usually the only means of communication after the commercial services are destroyed. If BPL is operating outside of the affected area, then the people trying to communicate with the affected area will be so interfered with by the BPL that they will be unable to communicate with the people in need.

BPL will have such poor and unpredictable line characteristics to operate into that the best performance expected is at or below ISDN rates of 128Kbps. Do you really want to oblivionate the volunteer, completely independant and non-commercial amateur emergency service for 128Kbps? Do you really think that in the end it will be commercially viable?

Please contact your elected representatives and ask them to support the ARRL's position against this ill and misguided attempt to fool the people into something that is not what it appears to be. Tell them you'd really rather have true broadband over fixed wireless, fiber or other infrastructure like the rest of the modern world has.

http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/HTML/plc/ [arrl.org]

The problems with BPL (5, Interesting)

wb8wsf (106309) | more than 7 years ago | (#15313017)

BPL is one of those things which sounds good or at least interesting
at the start, but the deeper you go the less decent it gets.

The problem boils down to the fact that a BPL system emits RF (radio
frequency) energy, causing interference to entities that use those
frequencies. The FCC has been put into an interesting spot here, as
they realize that the problems generated by it are real, but are also
being pushed by the Bush administration to move forward on this.

Ham radio operators are definitely negatively affected by this. Hams
by their nature deal with "weak signals", which the noise generated
by BPL tends to clobber, making many of the "shortwave" (ie, below
30MHz) bands less than useful.

If you care to see a pretty good response to this go to www.arrl.org
and look for BPL.

This is a real horror for hams. Least anyone think that ham radio
is out of date in this era of advanced technology, talk with officials
down south who dealt with Katrina, or in Neq York City on September 11th.
BPL pits big money interests against litterally amateurs, with the latter
group figting back, and being at least partly successful, in getting
the FCC to deal/recognize interference complaints, and getting these
systems cleaner.

What will happen, I cannot say. But I look to systems in Europe
and Asia where broadband exists and doesn't use BPL, and see systems
which offer far better service.

--STeve Andre'
amateur callsign WB8WSF

Re:The problems with BPL (1)

v3xt0r (799856) | more than 7 years ago | (#15313070)

who the hell uses ham radios these days anyhow?

*with the exception of the weird old guy down the street who waters his lawn in his wifebeater and boxers, and uses that lil' treasure/metal detector to find pennies in the park, and uses ham radio to eavesdrop on cordless phone calls in his neighborhood, etc.*

Re:The problems with BPL (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 7 years ago | (#15313445)

oh lets see
1 the entire signal corp (ret)
2 that wierd guy that always seems to get very busy if some sort of disaster hits
3 the first guy to poke his head up when the disater is HERE (see 9/11 and katrina and (insert name of every cat 4 hurricane for the last 20 years))
4 the first guy to hand you a shovel to dig yourself out when "its your turn for disaster" (oh and a sandwich when you are out)

Re:The problems with BPL (1)

baadger (764884) | more than 7 years ago | (#15313384)

Least anyone think that ham radiois out of date in this era of advanced technology, talk with officials down south who dealt with Katrina

Yeah but when the next Katrina comes along the power lines get knocked out, the RF interference stops, the hams work, usefulness restored, everyones happy right?

Re:The problems with BPL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15313461)

The city could make it mandatory to knock down all BLP in the near vicinity when something like this happens. Quick, easy, and makes sense.

--
AC

I can get BPL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15313068)

A little town just west of lansing, MI has broadband over power line set up for residential and business use (it really isn't worth $30 a month for something like 328k or something around there). In the local paper (which is owned by Gannet) it said that the signal is transmitted from lansing to the water tower in Grand Ledge by microwave then is transmitted to receivers on the power line poles then run by the powerline to your house.

Cheating bastards! (2, Informative)

coop535 (813230) | more than 7 years ago | (#15313142)

They're using WIRELESS technology. Read TFA! You'll see it there, plain as day.

I doubt they even solved any of the original problems they brought to the table eons ago! The idea is that every OUTLET could have internet access. Everyone who has an existing electricity feed could get internet access (imagine third world countries, etc). You'll notice that the article says that without a "smart grid" it won't work in rural areas. A good chunk of the world is rural...

Might as well invent a square wheel while they're at it.

trAol7kore (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15313145)

it will be among FreeBSD at about 80 failure, its co8pse developers. The I won't bore you in the sun. In the

Only for Last Mile (1)

CeZa (562197) | more than 7 years ago | (#15313188)

I haven't read this article, but for the most part BPL is for solving the last-mile problem. An optical carrier would connect a neighborhood to the central network, with the power lines linking each house to the fiber optic transmission line.

Already Involved (2, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#15313195)

One of the problems with a website like Slashdot is that its editors aren't reliable for perspective on presentation of stories with a history, both in the world and in the site's coverage. BPL has been covered on Slashdot several times, as the electric companies have evolved their business proposition and dealt with technical, economic and political problems. But the story presented here "introduces" BPL without any of that perspective. The new Slashdot story/style presentations do better, at least eliminating pure duplicates, but the nanothin editorial depth leaves out the context that is part of the story, both on Slashdot and in the world. Consider this BPL story, and others, with an itchy google finger.

Mother Fuckers (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 7 years ago | (#15313261)

here are several pilot projects being launched in the US, including one in the Pittsburgh suburb of Monroeville.

Monroeville is less than 5 miles from where I live.

LK

Asymptote (1)

jamesl (106902) | more than 7 years ago | (#15313273)

Asymptote: Always closer, never quite getting there. See: Broadband over Powerlines; BPL

Shouldn't this have its own section and icon by now?

We need SOME third party last-mile provider (1)

PostItNote (630567) | more than 7 years ago | (#15313418)

BPL seems like a loser of an idea due to interference issues, but we need SOME third party in the marketplace. The game theory works against net neutrality if there are two or fewer players, but it may work FOR net neutrality if there are at least 3. I'm betting on wireless, but I wish the BPL guys well and really just hope the some thrid party gets into the last-mile business ASAP.

FLASH! The Telcos are experimenting with... (1)

bobcardone (922176) | more than 7 years ago | (#15313515)

... a new technology to provide mains power using a little-known photoelectric principle called:

Power
Originating
Over
Fiber

Or, POOF!

They are still working out some bugs (molten glass, mass sterilizations, etc.) but expect to see this exciting development SOON from your local fiendly Telco!!!
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