Research and Markets has announced the addition of Broadband over Power Lines in the Real World: Early Commercialization in Manassas, Virginia to their offering.
Broadband over power lines (BPL) promises faster, cheaper, and more accessible Internet service via the local electric utility system. To shed light on how BPL is faring in its early stages, we took a close look at Manassas, Virginia, where the municipal utility was the first in the nation to advance BPL from a pilot program to a commercial offering.
Manassas missed its goal of having the entire city — 12,500 homes and 2,500 businesses — wired for BPL by mid-2004. Even so, without any advertising, BPL has attracted substantial interest: There are a few hundred users on the system and a backlog of 1,300 requests for service.
Early adopters in Manassas say the system is easy to set up, reliable, and fast. Some customers are being won over from competing broadband Internet options, all of which carry higher prices. Download speeds are comparable to digital subscriber line (DSL) service, although not as fast as the peak speeds achieved over cable modem.
BPL received a green light in an October 2004 technical ruling from the Federal Communications Commission. Nevertheless, substantial challenges may impede BPL from achieving its full potential. Amateur radio operators are fighting BPL deployments over the issue of interference. System economics are still uncertain, especially in rural areas that are often seen as the biggest natural market for BPL. And utilities that were burned in the last big wave of telecom investments are moving slowly and cautiously.