Barons discovers BPL

Barron’s Bill Alpert is one of my favorite scribes: funny, articulate and succinct. In this week’s issue he is hyping up Broadband over Power Line, based on one analyst experience in two locations. Sanford C. Bernstein’s Tom Wolzien thinks this is the next big threat to the cable and phone companies and has cut his rating on the cable guys. Oh sure it might be a threat some day, but not anytime soon, at-least not in Tom’s working life. Like WiMAX, BPL is an over-hyped technology where potential exceeds realistic expectations. Of course, as Alpert points out, “a trial deployment in England failed when it turned every lamppost into a broadcast antenna. Proponents of BPL and the U.S. Federal Communications Commission are working out spectrum-sparing solutions to the interference problem. Still, those unshielded cables mean that BPL signals will weaken with distance, just like the phone companies’ digital subscriber lines.”

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