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Net over power lines concept is back

Promising speeds of 45Mbps

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Trials are underway in Germany and Spain to provide broadband Internet over electricity cables at speeds up to 45Mbps.

Testing is still at an early stage but if successful a full service could be introduced by the end of the year.

Exact details of the trial are being kept under wraps.

However, Denis Murphy, VP and MD EMEA of software-based communications outfit, Clarent, (one of the companies involved in the trial) said that technical obstacles had been overcome.

"The technology is now stable and economical - a real alternative to the last mile," he said, referring to ongoing problems with local loop unbundling.

Mr Murphy declined to name the other companies taking part in the trial but said further announcements would be made later in the year.

In March, Siemens announced it was ceasing development of similar technology that could allow the transmission of Internet traffic of power cables. It said it saw a greater potential market in developing ADSL products instead, mainly because of regulatory delays surrounding powerline technology.

Two years ago United Utilities and Nortel ditched their plans to use electric cables to provide Net access in the UK. That decision was made against a backdrop of fears that the technology could drown out other radio traffic and interfere with civil aviation and emergency service transmissions. ®

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