The Buzz: A brazen new competitor to DSL and cable is "within striking distance of being the third
major broadband pipe into the home," says FCC Chairman Michael Powell. Broadband over power line, or BPL (currently being offered in pilot programs by
a dozen or so utilities around the country), promises to deliver high-speed Internet access straight from the electrical socket in your wall. Long
written off as an also-ran technology, BPL has new spark, thanks to technical advances that address problems of interference and in-line transformers
that scramble signals. The last hurdle will be getting the FCC's approval. Considering Powell's enthusiasm--and the general belief that BPL will cost
less than cable or DSL--a green light could be imminent.
June 30, 2003