Report sees future for broadband over power line technology

Oct. 28, 2004
Oct. 28, 2004 - The Shpingler Group forecasts a ramp up to a $2.5 billion worldwide market for equipment in the next five years.

The Shpingler Group has assessed the market potential for broadband over power line technology, which uses electric power utility's distribution lines to deliver data services as well as ac power.

The findings can be found in the group's report, "Developments in Broadband over Power Lines."

The delivery of broadband access has been marked in recent years by increasing competition between cable-television operators and local telephone companies. This market shows signs of becoming even more competitive with new technology and new groups of suppliers emerging. Broadband over power line (BPL) technology is one example.

The idea of BPL technology is not new, but technological advances in recent years have improved the ability of BPL to compete as an alternative to DSL and cable-modems. These advances not only bring a new technology to market, but they also bring a group of new "players" to the broadband market - electrical power companies and municipal utility authorities as well as possible joint-ventures or partnerships with these entities.

Large, well-funded utilities and other companies are now committed to developing BPL capabilities. In its report, the Shpingler Group forecasts a ramp up to a $2.5 billion worldwide market for equipment in the next five years, with a long-term outlook of serving more than 14 million customers in the U.S. within 10 years.

Since 2002, BPL has progressed from a handful of trials to nearly 100 trials and early-stage commercial deployments in North America. Some of these deployments involve commitments to serve thousands of users.

BPL offers a competitive mix of deployment costs, service capabilities, and operational benefits compared with fiber, DSL, and other media being used or developed for broadband access. It also is well suited for a large number of services, including smart-home services, energy management and other utility applications, as well as high-speed Internet access. BPL also offers flexibility for being combined with optical fiber feeder systems or wireless technology to offer hybrid solutions.

The report describes BPL systems, architecture, applications, and competitiveness. The report also examines questions of whether and how a viable business strategy can be established, and draws on the Shpigler Group's extensive background within the telecom and utility industries. The report is authored by the Shpigler Group, of Nyack, NY, and is available from KMI Research, of Providence, RI.

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