Powerline Communications

The Market for Digital PowerLine

Trends in both the electric and telecommunications industry have lead to a climate where Digital PowerLine should be a big player. These trends include customer demand for affordable and high speed Internet access, deregulation of electrical utilities, and the repercussions of a variety of telecommunications legislation.

Customers want cheaper, faster, and more reliable access to the Internet right now. Not only can Digital PowerLine provide that type of service, but it will be available before other broadband access technologies. Therefore Digital PowerLine has both a time to market and cost advantage. This maybe too much for the other broadband access technologies.

The utility industry is facing deregulation in North America, Europe, and some parts of Asia. Deregulation means increased competition in the slow growing electricity market with little protection for utilities. An unenviable position indeed. Consequently, many utilities are actively seeking to diversify into other, more profitable, industries. For many utilities telecommunications and Internet services have been a sensible choice. That option can only become more popular as Digital PowerLine matures.

Digital PowerLine offers a deregulated utility several options and advantages. The utility can either lease the rights to implement Digital PowerLine on its electrical grid or develop the technology itself. The advantages include the low cost of the local loop, differentiating the utility from other utilities, and bundling a variety of services.

The most recent telecommunications act has tried to make it easier for all types of telecommunications firms to sell local services and long distance services. However, Regional Bells actually have control over local lines and charge other companies who place calls on their lines. Many of the larger phone companies have sought to get around these charges by building or leasing their own networks to connect to local points. Digital PowerLine is an existing network that fits those needs. Expect to see smaller telecommunications companies partnering with electrical utilities to provide alternative local phone service.

International Powerline Communications Forum (ipcf.org)
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