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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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Tuesday, March 16, 2004


Competing vendors claim new BPL orders in China

U.S. vendor PowerWAN claimed a big BPL (broadband over power line) order in southern China:
"PowerWAN, Inc., the Palo Alto-based Broadband-over-Power-Line ("BPL") company, announced today that it would make the first large scale commercial deployment of a power line carrier ("PLC") system. Its proprietary technology will be used to provide broadband voice and data services in two provinces in China. International Technical Trade Co. Ltd. of Hong Kong will serve as the distributor of the PowerWAN system in China. The initial rollout will be to approximately 400,000 residences and businesses in Sichuan and Jiangsu provinces. This initial installation will be done at a contract value of approximately $35 million, and the first components of the system are expected to be shipped in May "

Meanwhile, ITRAN and its' Japanese partners claimed FibrLink, owned by multiple Chinese power utilities, had selected it as the sole vendor for additional deployments in its Beijing trial:
"PremiNet, Inc. an affiliated company of the Japanese Kinden Corporation has recently announced the receipt of a follow-up order for its PLC Internet distribution equipment based on ITRAN Communications' broadband PLC chipset. Since March 2003, PremiNet Inc. and LineCom Inc. (an affiliated company of the Kansai Electric Power Co. Inc.) have been participating jointly in a 150-apartment BPL trial, held in a housing complex in Beijing, China. The trial is being conducted by FibrLink Networks Co., Ltd., a broadband telecommunications operator, controlled by the State Power Telecommunication Center, which is owned by the power telecommunication companies of all the 36 provinces in China.

Due to the stable and robust performance of the PLC equipment provided by the PremiNet & LineCom group, FibrLink has decided to expand the trial, using equipment provided by that group only. The group was the only participant in the trial that managed to present a stable and robust BPL transmission and Internet distribution using only the electrical wiring. The PremiNet & LineCom group has been given a very high assessment due to the good sensitivity, operation stability and low cost of its PLC equipment, which is based on the broadband PLC technology developed by ITRAN Communications. FibrLink has recently ordered 2,000 additional units from Preminet for the trial expansion phase."

Comment: there are a number of participants in this group and their relationships are hard to keep straight. Preminet is owned by Israeli vendor ITRAN and three large Japanese companies: Macnica, Kinden and Alps Electric. LineCom is owned by ITRAN and two other Japanese companies: Matsushita and Kansai Electric Power. Further confusing things is ITRAN's stated intention to change its' name from ITRAN to YITRAN later this year.

Kansai Electric's press release is similar but has some additional background information.


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