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Winchester has been selected for full-scale commercial trials in the summer of a broadband service provided directly over electricity power lines.

Earlier this month Scottish Hydro-Electric (SH-E) named Stonehaven in Scotland as one location taking part in the trials.

Another town in Hampshire was also earmarked for the trial, although at the time the company said it would wait a couple of weeks before revealing its identity.

In an email sent out yesterday, though, the company revealed that Winchester had been chosen for the second trial.

SH-E declined to comment on the news except to say that a formal announcement would be made in the next week or so.

So, why Winchester? Well, it seems that Stonehaven was chosen for the trial because there is no broadband in the area at present.

Winchester, on the other hand, has ADSL. As SH-E embarks on a full commercial trial it needs to establish whether the Powerline service can compete - both technically and price-wise - against existing broadband services.

The technology used by SH-E is called Powerline Communication (PLC) which uses the utility's existing electricity network to deliver broadband to homes and businesses.

PLC sends the broadband signal along the electricity wires and cables and directly through standard electrical sockets. It can also provide Net access in both directions at speeds up to 2000kbps.

The cost of the service for those taking part in the trial in expected to be around £25 - £30 a month although the pricing has yet to be finalised. ®

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