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Lining Up Powerline-Networking Potential

Falls Church, Va. — Sales of end-user devices equipped with broadband-powerline network technology will almost double in 2005 to about $150 million worldwide and hit $5.3 billion in 2011, according to Telecom Trends International.

The research company said powerline’s advantages in speed and range compared with wireless Wi-Fi technologies “will facilitate its rapid adoption” and make it “one of the mainstream home networking technologies.” The technology’s expansion beyond providing high-speed Internet access in the home will account for its great successes, the company said. Because of its high end-user speeds, it will turn up in devices that transmit voice, data and video around the house, said the company.

As a competitor to cable-modem and DSL services, Broadband Powerline Access (BPL-Access) technology is likewise poised for rapid growth. The technology uses the electricity power grid to bring broadband access to buildings.

Last year, “significant” BPL-Access commercial rollouts occurred, and dozens of trials are currently taking place around the world. The company estimated that BPL-Access services generated $57.1 million in revenue worldwide in 2004 and will generate $4.4 billion by 2011.

“There are no longer any serious technical limitations to the deployment of BPL for high-speed Internet access,” said Telecom’s president Naqi Jaffery. Although there is no global standard for BPL-Access, and vendors are offering their own proprietary solutions, BPL-Access uses existing infrastructure to lower the cost of deployment and allow for services at competitive prices. “As the grid becomes the so-called ‘third wire’ to the premises, the massive scale presented throughout the world will drive costs ever lower,” he pointed out.