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News and comments on community broadband networks, the communities deploying them and the technologies that support them. Published by Denise Frey and Al Bonnyman.

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Monday, February 23, 2004


North Carolina: Progress Energy, EarthLink partner for BPL pilot

"Progress Energy and Atlanta-based EarthLink are teaming up to test broadband Internet service in several southern Wake County neighborhoods via the power lines. This partnership marks the first time in North Carolina that high-speed Internet service is available commercially over the power lines."

"'Providing high-speed Internet service via our power lines holds great potential,' said Matt Oja, director of emerging technologies at Raleigh-based Progress Energy. 'It could offer a very competitive option for broadband users in our service territories, especially in rural areas not currently or easily served by other high-speed Internet providers.'"

"Only about 500 homes in southern Wake County will have the opportunity to participate in this high-speed service. Those customers who do sign up for the new service will receive EarthLink High Speed Internet through wireless technology that uses the signal sent over Progress Energy power lines. The wireless equipment, which will allow customers to connect to the Internet from anywhere inside the home near a power outlet, is free at signup. After that, the service costs $19.95 a month for the first three months and $39.95 per month thereafter."

"Progress Energy is one of more than a dozen utilities nationwide testing the delivery of broadband over power lines (BPL). The first phase of the test, completed in June 2003, involved about 25 computers in residential/commercial locations and monitoring of distribution line equipment in the North Raleigh area. This second phase will allow customers in selected neighborhoods to purchase the service through EarthLink. Using technology developed by Massachusetts-based Amperion, Progress Energy can transmit data to a neighborhood relay point over a combination of fiber optics and power lines. Special devices attached to existing electric poles and transformers then send a wireless signal into homes and devices."


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