What will it take for broadband over power line (BPL) technology to take hold? Is BPL on track to become, as the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) once contemplated, the “third broadband pipe into residential consumers’ homes, providing significant competition for cable and DSL service,” and an integral part of the 21st century “smart grid”?
Initial rollouts of BPL have slowed, if not stalled, but utilities continue to explore the possibilities for providing new services to customers. Now NARUC, in its Report of the Broadband Over Power Lines Task Force, and an accompanying survey conducted by EPRI Solutions, explores several utilities’ responses to BPL, as well as the attraction to, and hindrances toward, implementing the technology.
Leading the Way
The EPRI survey comprised responses from six utilities—Cinergy, Consumers Energy, South Central Indiana REMC, Con Edison, Central Hudson Gas & Electric, and First Energy—in determining to what extent each company’s unique culture and leadership affected its perspective on BPL. Overall, the study says, the utilities industry has been slow off the mark.