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IBM Takes Broadband to Power Lines

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IBM is partnering with a Texas utility to deliver broadband over power line (BPL) technology in the Houston area, joining the small but growing number of companies rolling out high-speed Internet service using standard home and business wiring.

CenterPoint Energy and IBM are collaborating their efforts at a Houston technology center run by the power provider. At the technology center, CenterPoint has started a pilot program designed to demonstrate the capabilities of BPL in the home.

BPL technology is touted as a way not only to provide broadband access to areas lacking DSL or cable connections, but also to improve power service and reliability. Using a BPL modem, consumers can plug a computer into any home or office outlet and receive high-speed access.

"With more bandwidth available, utilities can improve their delivery systems through the development of smart grid technologies, such as automated meter reading, real time system monitoring, preventive maintenance and outage detection," said Raymond Blair, vice president of broadband over power initiatives at IBM.

That, in turn, significantly reduces costs and increases efficiency for the power providers, he said.

And for consumers, BPL can be the only option for consumers living in areas not served by phone or cable companies.

"Everyone has electric power, but that's not necessarily true with DSL or cable," said Blair. Among the possible BPL-based services are Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), Video on Demand (VOD), home environment management and security monitoring.

Big Blue will help CenterPoint manage its BPL rollout, with equipment provided by Idacomm, Amperion, Broadband Energy, Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO - news), Itron, Mitsubishi and PCPC, among others.

Choosing a Texas market makes sense, said Yankee Group analyst Nicole Klein, as that state is supporting the introduction of BPL service.

"It's a large state, but the population is not as concentrated as in some other areas, so it is a prime candidate for this technology," she said.

This technology is being used today in Europe and other parts of the world. In the U.S., BPL providers include Current Communications, which last week announced investments from Internet search leader Google (Nasdaq: GOOG - news), communications conglomerate Hearst and financial services firm Goldman Sachs.

CenterPoint's pilot program, in which up to 50 residents can participate, will run through the end of August. IBM has tapped a wide array of energy industry and technology experts, as well as leading hardware and software vendors, for the project.

"We are committed to using technology innovation to help our customers and to bring more benefits to consumers," said Blair. "BPL greatly extends the barriers of the Internet for all users."

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I am an Ameteur operator myself...this is why I refer to HF as primitive, as well as most of the lower VHF Bands. They WILL be phased out for a more practical use(The good ole CB band lies within this spectrum as well...what?, no one notice the little FR2 radios put on the market couple years back?)while as the Digital spectrum, 5 Ghz and up will be the frontier of the future.

We are doing things with digital square waves, which are considered Theoretically impossible..right now!!

And ,there are unlimited areas into which we may expand...if we just drop the old tunnel vision philosophy, as to the practicality of "SPARK GAP TECHNOLOGY" and awaken to the newly developing roles, in regard to electomagnetic resonance, and where they can be applied.

right now, HF consist of a bunch of feeble minded old men hollaring C.Q. across normally unused frequencies all at the same time...finding some form of gratification in counting how many call signs they can make out among the gibberish, hoping for the highest count.

It started as a way to promote expeirmentation and private developement, in regard to electromagnetic communications..But has degraded considerably in that respect, since the last great contibution to society,,(late 1960's),and that would be the prelude to the internet..(PACKET radio..that was beginnigs of the ORIGINAL NET)

I, for one, cant wait to see what comes from this innovative idea.

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BPL is getting a 2nd look by the FCC, they may have to forget the whole thing, because now wireless Internet is not only faster, but actually EASIER to implement, and will not create havoc with the HF bands etc.

And HF is NOT primitive, it is one of the best and most reliable forms of wireless long distance communications.

10 meter FM repeaters are now coming into their own, packet radio systems now cover the globe via HF, VHF, and satelite, not to mention via the internet. APRS, GPS over ham radio is cathing on BIG time.

Forget BPL, it will not be implemented, because A: it IS primitive, B: it is noisy and disrupts all kinds of wireless communications and C: it was more a political thing, then an actual modern internet communications route.

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