Blog Post

Broadband Over Power Line Gets a KO Punch

The great broadband hope, “Broadband over Power Line,” has turned out to be a big broadband nope. Not that I am surprised. I never believed its promise, even despite the incessant hype by none other than the FCC. A court’s decision has proven me right: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit pretty much concludes that the FCC was misguided and overenthusiastic about BPL, and that it ignored the interference data.

Both former FCC chairman Michael Powell and the org’s current head, Kevin Martin, talked up this technology, even as broadband experts continued to voice their doubts about its viability. All this positive talk led to the investment of millions of dollars and the chasing of what turned out to be a chimera. Google, for instance, bet big on Current Communications, a company that so far has delivered more headlines than broadband over power lines.

Our good friend Karl over at DSL Reports points us to a story in The Dallas Morning News that says the largest BPL deployment in the U.S. is being sold to a local utility that, rather than consumer broadband service, will use it for electrical grid monitoring. Oops!

5 Responses to “Broadband Over Power Line Gets a KO Punch”

  1. Increasing Ratebase

    90M for about 350k lines if you believe the one sixth metric… probably 150k in reality…$260 to $600 per home… $ per kW going up!!!! Couldn’t we get this current company to put solar panels on our homes instead of a BPL network? that probably doesn’t even work?

  2. mrblogdotorg

    As someone pretty close to this some years ago, the technology issues aside, a much bigger problem is that the economics of BPL don’t work either.

    It was shameful of the FCC to promote it as an example of “thriving competition in broadband” or the “third pipe”.