Feeds

Power cable broadband trial goes live today

'Live'? What on 'earth' do you mean?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

The future of broadband in rural areas via electrical cables hinges on the success of a commercial trial that got underway in Winchester today.

Powerline Communication (PLC) technology, which uses the existing electricity network to deliver broadband by simply plugging a specially-adapted modem into a socket, has already been trialed in Scotland.

Now, though, PLC is facing a commercial trial to see whether it can compete in the market alongside other broadband technologies such as ADSL and cable.

At £29.99 a month, the service costs more than other entry-level DSL and cable broadband services. So has Southern Electric already made the mistake of over-pricing the service compared to other providers?

Not so, said Southern Electric's Director of Telecoms, Keith Maclean, who reveals that the PLC service provides uploading and downloading at speeds up to 1Mbps - quicker than other services on offer.

Speaking to The Register, Mr Maclean dismissed concerns that, much like DSL, PLC had a limited reach. Those concerns are "unfounded", said Mr Maclean.

While PLC has a range of up to 300 metres, this can be extended simply by using "boosters" or "repeaters" located in homes and businesses that are closer to broadband-enabled electricity substations.

Furthermore, the cost of enabling a substation to broadband is much less than bringing DSL to an exchange. Typically, BT needs several hundred customers per telephone exchange to make the necessary investment viable.

Maclean said that for PLC, the number of punters needed for each substation is nearer 50, although he admits that there are still other significant costs involved.

As for when PLC might be available in rural areas that can muster these more reasonable levels of demand is hard to say. Southern Electric is certainly looking committed to PLC at the moment, although it refuses to be drawn on when the service might become commercially available until it has assessed the full impact of the Winchester trial.

However, if all goes to plan, then PLC could be rolled out some time next year. ®

Related Stories

Ireland to trial broadband over power cables
Powerline broadband pilot nets 200 trialists
Winchester chosen for BB Powerline trial

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Turnbull: NBN won't turn your town into Silicon Valley
'People have been brainwashed to believe that their world will be changed forever if they get FTTP'
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.