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Broadband Over Powerlines

CenterPoint Energy, the electric company, wants to use power lines to provide high-speed Internet access. Several dozen Houston families are now testing this idea, and if it works, CenterPoint plans to make it available to everyone. It’s called broadband over power lines, or BPL, and it allows the power line coming to your house to […]

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CenterPoint Energy, the electric company, wants to use power lines to provide high-speed Internet access. Several dozen Houston families are now testing this idea, and if it works, CenterPoint plans to make it available to everyone.

It’s called broadband over power lines, or BPL, and it allows the power line coming to your house to double as a broadband Internet line. Tom Standish of Centerpoint’s Electric and Information Technology division says it really is as simple as it sounds.

The power line works like a DSL. A PC can be on the Internet 24-7, with the same level of security other hookups provide, and it doesn’t tie up a telephone line. Standish says early results of their pilot study in several dozen Houston homes are promising.

Standish says the possibilities of broadband over power lines are almost endless. CenterPoint could turn a customer’s electricity on and off by remote control, and reroute power around power line breaks caused by falling trees and tree limbs. Consumers could control household appliances by remote control with their cellphone. Best of all, Standish says, the lines are already in place, which means it can be available to the public in just a few years.

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