Early on, I commented here, and to K1ZZ & W1RFI that
BPL would die of its own weight, if it were only a
source of broadband service to unserved consumers.
The reason is it's a late entry into an already competitive
market, where service is dominated by large capital
barriers to entry. It certainly wouldn't provide economic coverage
to presently unserved rural customers, for the same reasons
of economy that have limited cable and dsl.
To survive and be profitable, it would have to benefit
from economies in the operation of the power utilities.
This Texas implementation reflects some efficiencies...automated
meter reading being one. BUT...and this is important...it
plays at the notion that a smart power network can be controlled
better than the present one. If true, that could prevent major
blackouts, like the one we had a couple of years back.
And THAT could be the killer app, which would both justify the
project economically, and rally public policy.
I'm told that utilities are routinely pulling in topside protective
ground wires which have a fiber core. Someone in that industry might
comment. If true, they have the long-haul infrastructure...or will...
to make something like this play.
The other variation which might evolve...I'm seeing cell sites on power
towers. If the power companies could provide both facilities and
fiber trunking for cells, there could be a shift in those economics
which would encourage BPL.
Dangerous stuff, for those of us who are concerned about RFI. It's a
very good thing that ARRL has worked with Motorola to verify the operation
of their BPL system. It sets the bar high for companies like Current
Communications, and may help bring them into reasonable compliance.
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