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Powerline Telecommunications: Mission Impossible?

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

serve the xDSL and cable [customers] in the short term."

"In the medium to long-term, we are going to bring the HomePlug expertise and technology to the table of these international group, and try to figure out with them what could be the best way to be able to support access when it is done over powerlines," Mantovani says.

For last-mile access, Morgan Stanley agrees that the industry will face competition from cable, xDSL, and wireless. But analysts at the investment bank say there is no clear winner in this respect, according to the report.

It adds, "Deployment of some competing technologies will require substantial infrastructure build-out and major capital investment (in some cases, amounting to billions of dollars)."

In addition, if PLT were proven, it appears that Internet downloading speeds with the technology would be competitive with the xDSL, cable, and wireless technologies.

Judith Warrick, senior advisor at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter's electric utility equity research division, says utilities have much to gain and little to lose from the aggressive development and deployment of PLT. Furthermore, Warrick says, several competing business models are possible for last-inch access.

"One model certainly does not have to include utilities. But [utilities] do have the customer and do have their trust."

Warrick concludes that prospects for utilities could be great. "[Utilities] could own the equipment that conditions the wires for [PLT], owning, and installing the gateway. [Utilities] could maintain the equipment, sell Internet and phone services, provide a network administration and control function."

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