Powerline standard approved; 500 Mbps data rates open new vistas

Perhaps lost amid last week's New Orleans cable blowout was an announcement by IEEE that it had ratified the 1901 Broadband over Powerline standard, clearing the way for data rates of up to 500 Mbps across electrical wires. This could create either an opportunity for the cable industry to leap onto someone else's widespread architecture for broadband content or a competitor in cable serving areas where the standard "could be the basis for distributing entertainment," said a story in EnergyWise.

Broadband over Powerline (BPL) has been tried before and the results have generally not been favorable because the noise on powerlines pretty much subverted the ability to send high amounts of data through those lines. An improved standard could make it possible for utilities to better control home electronics for energy efficiency, and, more insidiously, to deliver their own high-speed broadband services, could prove something for cable to watch since powerlines are about as ubiquitous as any network infrastructure in the U.S.

BPL is also an integral part of the FCC's overall national broadband plan where it is hinted heavily that it could be used as a third broadband pipe in a competitive play with cable and telco.

For more:
- see this story
- and FierceTelecom's take

Related articles:
Atheros pushing WiFi/powerline combo for smart grid
Manassas, Va. retires its BPL Internet service
FCC advisor: National Broadband Plan would boost smart energy
If the public's paying, smart grid should stick to energy

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