Broadband over power lines fails to catch on

Once touted as a possible third option for home broadband access that could compete with phone and cable companies, the idea of providing high-speed internet service over power lines now looks like it has died in infancy, the Associated Press reports. A Texas utility company, Oncor Electric Delivery Co., said last week that it is taking control of the equipment that was to be used in the largest planned U.S. deployment of broadband over power lines, or BPL–and won’t be using it to provide internet service. The network was to offer internet service to 2 million electricity customers through their wall outlets. Instead, Oncor will use the data capabilities of the network to monitor the electric grid. Other BPL trials have met with similar fates, though a few are still in operation. Compared with coaxial cables and copper phone lines, power lines are poor conduits for data. Some deployments also met fierce legal resistance from ham radio operators, who found that BPL created radio interference…

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