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Powerline Telecommunications: Mission Impossible?

PLT: History of Developments and Debacles
Fortnightly Magazine - July 1 2000

happen in physics and all of the energy that is created and all of the energy that travels up and down the wires so that we can actually put a signal on top of it like a cable signal or a computer signal, telephone signal, or Internet signal.

When will you unveil your final product?

We believe if we keep our current process underway, we will have our prototype operational in the next six months.

Does that mean you've raised the $65 million you said you needed to develop the technology?

We have bank guarantees and we have a number of term sheets that range far larger than that.

In your press materials, you say powerlines are a lot faster because they lack switches, routers, and gateways. But won't you need those things?

Let me ask you a question. When you are working on a spreadsheet and type in a number in one cell, how long does it take you to move that number to the other cell? If you use your point and click and copy, it takes a number of steps. But if I have a macro that takes one number that when you plug in one cell immediately feeds another cell, it happens at the same instant that the two memory slots are filled. …

So the point is that we don't have to worry about routing because all the plugs will act like little macro cells and as one acts, the other ones will recognize that. They don't have a route; it is all dynamic memory. Everybody is on the same basic huge computing platform where the wires are tying it all together like in your computer. Wires are tying all your processors together. We are actually duplicating that, except we are using electric wire rather than your tiny wires in your computer.

An engineer noted that your technology is like a broadcast signal, and he doesn't understand how you can incorporate Internet and all the other things you claim using a broadcast signal.

Again, it is just that he doesn't understand the technology. As I described it to you, we can put any type of signal on the microwave carrier in the same way that telephone companies currently use microwaves to carry Internet. It is not a problem. He is just not familiar with the technology. -R.S.

Several energy companies have even met with Media Fusion about possible partnerships, according to an industry source who wished to remain anonymous. Those companies include AEP, BG&E, Pennsylvania Power & Light, Cinergy, and the Southern Co. All of those companies have opted against such a partnership, says the source.

Says Cooper of the technology companies claiming PLT breakthroughs, "None has convinced me so far. I can tell you we are very skeptical about it. We will remain so until they can prove themselves."

Cooper also points out that beyond technological hurdles, making the technology economical is a problem.

"I think PLT probably offers a means to bundle a lot of services including energy and high-speed access. But there is a