Here Comes BPL!

"While DirecTV and fellow satellite TV operator EchoStar Communications have managed to keep increasing their subscriber base in the face of stiff competition from cable operators, Wall Street analysts have long questioned what broadband strategy the satellite operators will employ to counter competitive pressures," says USA Today.

The answer to that question may now be visible on the horizon, with the news that DirecTV may test delivering high-speed Internet service through power lines in a major U.S. city in the next year.


USA Today explains:

DirecTV and others are talking to companies that specialize in providing broadband through the electrical grid, Chief Executive Chase Carey said at the Reuters Global Technology, Media and Telecoms Summit in New York.

"We’re not the only ones talking to them," Carey said, in response to a question on whether DirecTV would consider a test in a major city. "I think you’ll see some meaningful tests in this arena."

DirecTV would like to test delivering Internet access on power lines in a "top 50 city where you’re covering at least half the city."

Indeed, DirectTV isn’t the only company exploring Broadband-over-Powerline, or BPL, as it is known. Intellon Corporation, a leading provider of HomePlug-compatible integrated circuits (ICs), will be demonstrating a "HomePlug AV-enabled home entertainment ecosystem" at WinHEC 2007 in Los Angles.

The HomePlug AV standards can move data around the house at up to 200 Mbps — including VOIP and HDTV. Rather than using WiFi or cat 5 cables for networking, the system relies on power sockets for your network connections, thus eliminating the rat’s nest of cables that lie behind most people’s CPUs and TVs.

BPL is also moving into government use: Telekonet just yesterday announced (PDF press release) that they have won a contract with the DoD to deploy their IP-over-powerline LAN (which, for you sticklers, is FIPS 140-2 validated).