Broadband over Power Lines (BPL): Developments and Policy Issues
The focus of this paper is to provide an overview of developments in broadband power line technologies and related policy issues. The electric power grid is a hostile environment for high-speed data transmission, but after years of development, the technology to deliver high-speed data over the existing electric power delivery network has emerged, somewhat tentatively, in the marketplace. This technology, referred to as Broadband over Power Lines (BPL), uses medium- and low-voltage power lines to provide broadband Internet access to residential users and businesses and is considered by some as a third access technology offering potential competition to xDSL telecommunication lines and cable modems. Recent trends, however, indicate that the focus of BPL technology is shifting from providing broadband connectivity to smart meter usage allowing households to reduce energy costs and allow energy companies to better manage their networks by developing a “smart grid”.
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