Table of Contents For This Issue
News about People and Companies influencing The Broadband Home
Telephone companies and cable operators in the US have exploited their connection into the home to provide broadband, but electric utilities have not. Over the past year, US focus has significantly increased on utility deployment of Broadband over Powerline (BPL) as a possible competitive "third wire". To get beneath the surface hype, we visited several BPL deployments and met with insiders from utilities, vendors and industry associations. We describe what we learned in a four-part survey.
Two recent utility industry conferences gave us the opportunity to meet those most active in the recent advances of Broadband over Powerline (BPL) technology and deployments. We report on the recent UTC Telecom 2004 and PLCA's 4th Annual Conference.
Some of the oldest BPL deployments started outside the US. The equipment behind many of them comes from Main.net Communications Ltd., parent of the company supplying technology for the City of Manassas BPL pilot. We followed up our initial discussions at the PLCA Conference by having in-depth meetings with principals of both Main.net and the City of Manassas.
FCC Chairman Powell and many of the Commission members had seen the BPL pilot being run by Pepco with Current Technologies. It was time for us to make our own assessment of the underlying technology and the applications that were demonstrated to them.
Jackson, Tennessee is known to some as the home of railroading's "Casey" Jones, but Jackson Energy Authority is making "fiber to the home" its new emblem. We visited in person to find out why this municipally-centered public utility decided on fiber, to see how the rollout is proceeding and take the pulse of how its residents are reacting to the new services. We especially wanted to learn "why fiber?" in a community that already has incumbents providing high speed data, voice and video services.
The 2004 NCTA Show demonstrated cable operators' interesting problem. Their rebuilt plants are capable of providing a multiplicity of services and the technologies that have been "coming soon" are finally ready for prime time. Now the big question is what share of resources should go to each of these opportunities? We highlight a few of the newer opportunities, including VoIP, multi-room DVRs and PacketCable Multimedia-based services like videotelephony.
With cable operators increasingly attacking telephone companies core voice revenues, there has been much discussion of how telephone companies can go after TV services. Increasing DSL speeds and some moves to fiber make telco video services more feasible. We interviewed Roy Sherbo of MTS in Canada to see how one telco TV rollout has progressed during its first two years.
The next two shows on our schedule are WCA this week in Washington and Healthcare Unbound in July. Please look for us if you're at either.
PC Magazine listed Broadband Home Central in its report on "Top 100 Sites You Didn't Know You Couldn't Live Without". We provided space on our site for ads from Google.
We answered reader questions about setting up a notebook PC for wireless networking, and about connecting Vonage service to existing analog phone wiring.