The noise and fury around broadband over powerline has started to resemble hype around WiMAX and VoIP. However, there seems to be some serious problems with this technology, which we have often talked about. Even those who are in the business are saying that it is years before BPL becomes a viable option for sending bits down to consumer homes. Here is something from a New York Times article this morning, about broadband in Manhattan.
Consolidated Edison plans to begin testing the technology in a high-rise apartment building on the Upper West Side in the next several months. The utility decided to expand its use of the technology after a successful pilot program in Westchester County that began in July 2002 and cost $480,000, Con Ed officials said. While the technology is several years from being ready for widespread use, experts and regulators say it has potential.
Doesn’t it beg the question: if it is years away, isn’t that enough time for Bells to completely dominate the local access market through its fiber pipes? Ironically, the same technology points out that it isn’t costing Con-Ed to run the experiment. “In June, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority gave $200,000 to Con Ed and Ambient to explore the technology,” The Times adds. In addition, imagine a utility company getting positive press. Why won’t they make positive comments, and share the glory.
“I don’t think cable and D.S.L. companies are scared of this entrance by the utilities into the Internet market,” said Bruce Leichtman of the Leichtman Research Group, a broadband media research and analysis firm in Durham, N.H. “The reason is that this market is already largely taken.”