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The Internet

Cincinnati Gets Broadband Over Power Lines 609

kotj.mf writes "According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Cincinnati-area electric utility Cinergy has become the first electric utility in the country to offer broadband over power lines. There's also a press release. At $29.95/month for 1 Mb/s both upstream and down, it's only a few bucks more than the local dialup providers. Can we expect the power companies to start giving Cable and DSL providers a run for their money? Finally, my town gets AHEAD of the times, for once."
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Cincinnati Gets Broadband Over Power Lines

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  • by SargeZT ( 609463 ) * <pshanahan@mn.rr.com> on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @05:53PM (#8445794) Homepage
    Cincinatti is famous for something other than WKRP.
  • Tap in... (Score:5, Funny)

    by SirChris ( 676927 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @05:53PM (#8445797) Journal
    I want to see the first guy to to try tap into that broadband illegally....bzzzp!
    • Re:Tap in... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by pclminion ( 145572 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @06:03PM (#8445915)
      I want to see the first guy to to try tap into that broadband illegally....bzzzp!

      Considering that the power line is (drum roll please) a giant freaking antenna, all you really need to tap into someone's traffic is a radio receiver.

      Yay! Now we get to have the detriments of wireless systems (interference, monitoring by third parties, etc.) without any of the benefits of, well, being wireless.

      Dumbest idea ever.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @05:53PM (#8445800)
    I can't wait! I'm going to go tear a lamp cord off the lamp, fray the wires, and jam them into my modem port. Pretty soon I'll be surfing the way Al Gore meant us to!

    signed, Les Nessman.
    • by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @06:05PM (#8445939)
      I can't wait! I'm going to go tear a lamp cord off the lamp, fray the wires, and jam them into my modem port.

      You can try it today : just solder a RJ-11 on your lamp cord and plug it to the modem. You'll get a really hot internet connection in no time flat!

      Pretty soon I'll be surfing the way Al Gore meant us to!

      Yes, the above method will allow you to do exactly that.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @05:53PM (#8445802)
    Since when is twice as much "only a few bucks more"? Hint: AOL doesn't count as one of "the local dialup providers".
  • by dewhite ( 412211 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @05:54PM (#8445806) Homepage Journal
    I wonder if they will deliver on the promise of 1 mb/s upstream. Getting a megabit down is common place these days, but that kind of upload bandwidth would be nice to have for 30 bucks a month...
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @06:06PM (#8445956)
      If they can deliver and the service becomes commonplace, you'd definitely see an increase of quality game servers. I have a pretty nice secondary computer that I'd like to host games on, but not at the price of a T1. So yeah, 1 mb/s up would be nice for 30 bucks a month.
    • by CrystalCut ( 307381 ) * on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @06:12PM (#8446024) Homepage Journal
      Nice? Nice??

      My god, it would be sublime! Comcast, AT&T, Charter, Cox (and any other big cable companies) charge $$$$ for upload speeds over 128kbps. And that's assuming that your in an area where they can offer those higher speeds to a residence, or bother to offer "commercial" service.

      Comcast wants over $200 a month for a commercial service that offers 256kbps up. Cox, who I will be using after I move in 2 weeks, offers 3mb down / 256kbps up for $79. That's their commercial service. But..wait for it...for 3mb down / 384 up they want $325.00. I can't speak for AT&T or Charter specifically, as I have not recently lived in areas where either service is available.

      If this type of broadband proves reliable, affordable to deploy, and sells for under $50.00 a month, cable companies are going to be in very big trouble...assuming they ignore the obvious.
      • by Rosyna ( 80334 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @06:13PM (#8446043) Homepage
        There goes the mod points i just had.

        For 3mb down/384 up Cox charges only 199/mo, business account. At least here in phoenix.
      • by eyempack ( 239017 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @06:22PM (#8446136) Homepage
        I think this throws another player into the fray. One of the main things i hope happens it it becomes a 3 horse race between cable/dsl/power. Cable companies will be forced to improve performance and reduce prices DSL will be forced to expand network coverage allowing for rural America and other huge city's to have coverage. This will also make them fix their price structure. And power, because it already has the infrastructure up will force them to add more infrastructure to compete. This can only be good as far as a economic standpoint. Broadband is still an oligopoly but [hopefully] once wireless and other alternative technologies abound we will have a truly competitive market.
      • in my market southern NJ, comcast includes 256k up on residential
    • It probably will be at full speed at first, but then they will crank it down after they've attracted a large customer base. ISP behavior 101.
  • Re: can we expect... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PedanticSpellingTrol ( 746300 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @05:54PM (#8445808)
    No.

    Ham Radio will interfere with it severely, and there won't be a damn thing the provider can do because it's under FCC part 15, which must accept any harmful interference, especially from PROPERLY LICENSED services. Of course, the same rules will also hold the power company for any interference caused to the amateur radio service. Don't expect this to be available for long. Maybe now everybody will see that it doesn't work and let the abomination die like it should.

    • Ham Radio will interfere with it severely, and there won't be a damn thing the provider can do because it's under FCC part 15, which must accept any harmful interference, especially from PROPERLY LICENSED services.

      If you live in the Cincinatti area and have a HAM license, it's time to find some major power lines and start transmitting like your life depended on it!
    • by brain1 ( 699194 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @05:58PM (#8445854)
      Yep. And since I'm a duly licensed amateur radio operator, then if it's rolled out in my area then they have to put up with the interference.

      I still think that interference with government services on the HF bands will be the death, if not at least the curtailment, this technology. At the very least it cant be deployed near any government installation.

    • Re: can we expect... (Score:5, Informative)

      by cavebear42 ( 734821 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @05:58PM (#8445863)
      did you RTFA? "He said the utility has found no problem with radio wave interference, a concern raised by many amateur radio operators." After a 1 year test, it didn't interfere, and the FCC really wants this to happen. It is going forward.
      • Re: can we expect... (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Maybe you'd like to read more than the power company's own propoganda?

        http://www.computerweekly.com/Article127428.htm

        http://www.arrl.org/news/features/2003/07/08/

        As well as the report recently on /. about how Austria dropped this idea due to interfearance issues. (sorry, I don't have the link)

        Of course those that're looking to get your $29/mo are going to say it works!! ::Baaaaaa!:: ::Baaaaaa!::
      • by pclminion ( 145572 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @06:12PM (#8446029)
        did you RTFA?

        Yes, but over here in our little corner of the universe we like to call "Rational Land," scientific "studies" conducted by for-profit organizations, especially when such studies appear to benefit said organizations, are considered highly suspect until corroborated by external researchers.

        But thanks for playing.

      • by dbc ( 135354 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @06:17PM (#8446074)
        Let me tell you about how Part 15 certification *really* works. They found no problems because they didn't go looking for them. The only BPL trials so far have been: 1) very limited in area, 2) very limited in time, (1 year? Continuous? Hardee-har) 3) some of them on underground primaries, 4) they don't poll HF spectrum users to find out about interference.

        The BPL trials have winked on and off so fast that no interference complaints could be logged. It takes a *lot* of time to document an interference complaint so that it is sufficient for an FCC filing.

        The Part 15 industry is notorious for submitting "lab queens" to the FCC for certification. Especially the Part 15 devices that run on house wiring and over power lines... they only *model* the power lines, and the models are pathetically simple-minded -- the better to pass Part 15.

        Part 15 is a cesspool of spectrum mismanagement and BPL is the biggest turd ever. What galls me is that the FCC should be playing honest broker here, but instead they are cheerleading a questionable technology.
        • by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @06:29PM (#8446195)
          If there is truly a conflict, I hope the hams can be given some other chunk of spectrum to operate with, because the number of people interested in accessing the Internet truly dwarfs the number interested in ham radio. I do have some sympathy for "we were here first" but at some point it would simply be a tyranny of the minority.
          • Re: can we expect... (Score:5, Informative)

            by Detritus ( 11846 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @06:48PM (#8446417) Homepage
            It isn't just amateur radio. Try ships at sea, aeronautical communications, police, fire, forestry, government, military, disaster services, broadcasting, and many others. Those services are allocated those frequencies by international treaty. They are not going to vacate their frequencies so that a few pr0n addicts can download photoshopped pictures of Sarah Michelle Gellar a little faster.
          • by DF5JT ( 589002 ) <slashdot@bloatware.de> on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @07:01PM (#8446549) Homepage
            YOU are the minority. There are people on this planet OUTSIDE the USA, do you know that? There are BILLIONS of people who are not interested in your cheap broadBAND access, but they certainly are interested in broadCAST access.

            BPL is RF pollution of the worst kind. It does NOT stop at your borders, quite on the contrary. It makes it impossible for millions of people all over the world to listen to a shortwave transistor radio, to get information, to be entertained and to connect with others.

            BPL uses the entire shortwave spectrum and creates a noise floor that can be heard all over the world (Ever heard of shortwave propagation? Ever heard what BPL sound like? I guess not.). With your snotty narrowminded attitude you are in fact denying people their right to free access of information.

            Cincinatti goes broadband with hundreds of watts of RF energy dissipated into the atmosphere and South America won't be able to listen to their AM radio stations anymore.

            BTW, this is not about ham radio, even though I have had my ham radio license since 1979. No, this is about the millions of villages all over the planet, tuning into shortwave radio broadcasts as their only source of timely information. Hundreds of Millons of individuals will love Americans for denying them that.

            Tyrrany of the minority, indeed. Since Americans barely represent 5% of this planet's population that statement fits the shoe perfectly, though I suspect it was made with a slightly different angle in mind in your case.

            BTW, "I hope the hams can be given some other chunk of spectrum to operate with" is about as perfect a display of ignorance as I have seen, even here on /.
            • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @10:37PM (#8448492)
              I suspect the fellow you are responding too is truly ignorant to the scope of the situation.

              I thought the exact same thing as you. The issue is not interference with HAM operators -- that's just a side effect of the bigger issue.

              The problem is that most people don't understand what RF even is. We need a good analogy that regular people can understand so they can appreciate the scope of the problem.

              For instance, there are rules that state how bright and wide the beams can be on our vehicles headlamps. These guys are metaphorically attaching aerial flood lamps to a school bus so everyone in their vehicle can see for miles. The side effect is everyone else on the road is now blind. In this case the light is the transmitter and your eyes are the receiver.

              How bout this one, your in a gym having a conversation with some friends -- then a marching band comes rolling in screamming the schools fight song. Guess who the band represents. Try carrying on your conversation now.

              The FCC part 15 rules exist for a reason. We just need to make sure they are enforced.

              I say let these guys launch the service then we can document the scope of the problems this technology creates before we crush them.

              I like the idea of BPL. The power companys just need to run RF grade sheilded power lines first.

              Oh, oops thats right. It would cost money -- alot more than just bribing the right senators.
          • There are two large problems with this type of thinking. For one, "tyranny of the minority" in this case happens to benefit all people, inluding those with broadband, which ceases to function when power lines go down. During hurricanes, tornadoes, and other natural disasters, I think most people will be relieved at the emergency services offered by HAMs. FEMA and other organizations rely on them.

            Changing radio frequencies is not all that easy. These are internationally chosen frequencies, because the HF
      • by quonsar ( 61695 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @06:22PM (#8446130) Homepage
        the utility has found no problem with radio wave interference and microsoft has found no fundamental security weaknesses in its products. and enron saw no problem with inventing intangible investments. bush found no reason to think saddam wouldn't make a mushroom cloud out of us any day. and i have a marvelous over-water vehicular conveyance device located in brooklyn i can let you have for a pittance. and i see no problem giving you a quit-claim deed to it.
    • Re: can we expect... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Bagheera ( 71311 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @06:00PM (#8445883) Homepage Journal
      Amen. The interference this service causes on the amature bands is well documented at the ARRL [arrl.org] website. I know there is the usual cry that Amature Radio is dead, and isn't useful, and what have you. But the fact is the amature radio service is a vital emergency service, and has a large population of experienced old-school hardware hackers who are still experimenting and adding to the art.

      Broadband is good.

      Broadband over powerlines - not so good.

      • The interference this service causes on the amature bands is well documented at the ARRL [arrl.org] website.

        In other news, bread manufacturers are providing lots of evidence that the Atkins diet is crap.

        ARRL says it interferes. The power company says it doesn't. Duh. I'd like to see some objective studies on this. Amateur radio has just as much right to exist as anything else in the spectrum. And it's true that power lines in general are quite good at causing RF interference. But I have not yet se

        • Amateur radio has just as much right to exist as anything else in the spectrum.Actually, by law, Amateur Radio has more right to exist in the spectrum in question that broadband over power. Sorry. Not all portions of the EM spectrum are equally free in the US.
    • by quonsar ( 61695 )
      OR... It will interfere heavily with ham radio, which will complain, wail and moan to no avail. you sound pretty certain of yourself there with your "properly licensed" service and all, except that's about as solid as a fart in the wind. The FCC almost 10 years ago knuckled under to the New Improved GI Joe Walkie Talkie (cellular) industry, and drew a line across a chunk of public spectrum and said "Thou shalt listen here no more." They've approved an ignorant consumers nightmare called HDTV, the implement
    • by Ralph Wiggam ( 22354 ) * on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @06:21PM (#8446114) Homepage
      Hmmm...A long legal battle between amateur radio operators and a power company. Can I bet on it?

      -B
  • Symmetric speeds!? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by compbrain ( 625174 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @05:55PM (#8445820) Homepage Journal
    Why is it that the (currently) most controversial method of broadband internet access gets symmetric speeds by default? Are power companies the only ones to realize that it makes sense to give identical upload and download?
  • interference issues (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jwhamilton ( 725134 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @05:55PM (#8445821)
    so what are the interference ramifications of this?? i still hear people complain about this. i think the biggest thing to note is the price. im under the impression that cable/dsl are typically 40-50 around the US. if this is an indication, then i think power internet will become prevelent quickly. cheaper and more widely available (theoretically)
  • So? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ErichTheWebGuy ( 745925 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @05:56PM (#8445826) Homepage
    So a major city has it. Seems to me the only people who would really gain anything are people in rural areas. I get > 3Mbps with my cable line, more than 3 times as fast for about the same price. Although, I can see it being great as a proof-of-concept...
    • Re:So? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tweakr ( 90832 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @05:59PM (#8445877)
      You may get 3Mbps downstream (as do I with my cable setup), but note that cable providers limit the upstream - usually to 384kbps or less. So in that aspect at least, the broadband-over-powerlines is more than double the cable offering.

      A better comparison, I would think, would be that this is 2/3rds of a T1, at a FRACTION of the cost!

      I'm also wondering if b-over-p suffers from the same amount of network congestion problems as cable (and even DSL) are prone too....
  • I know that broadband over power lines sounds nice, but what if you lose power? How ya gonna surf the....oh...um...nevermind.
    • by jdreed1024 ( 443938 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @06:04PM (#8445920)
      I know that broadband over power lines sounds nice, but what if you lose power? How ya gonna surf the....oh...um...nevermind.

      Doesn't bother me, I have a UPS, so my computer stays on during brief power outages. And now that the Internet comes over power lines, I'll have connectivity from my UPS too! I'm still jealous of my friend who's got a generator, though. He can generate his own power, and now he can generate his own Internet! Wish I could do that...

  • by KingOfBLASH ( 620432 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @05:56PM (#8445834) Journal
    I live in a pretty big apartment, and my landlord takes care of all of the electricity. Will I still be able to get broadband over power lines? I assume they should be able to work it like a cable modem (i.e. everyone in the building is on the same cable line), but don't know technical details about broadband over power lines.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The circle continues?
  • bad URL (Score:5, Informative)

    by Korgrath ( 714211 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @05:57PM (#8445837) Homepage
    don't worry, Cinergy wasn't slashdotted, it was just a bad link actual Cinergy site [cinergy.com]
  • by JDRipper ( 610930 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @05:57PM (#8445839)
    With that bandwidth at that price, Cincinatti gamers will be some serious LPB's. I am filled with gaming envy.
  • by haRDon ( 712926 )
    At least then the take up may improve if it's shown to be successful.

    Whats the data quota?

    Would be nice to be able to have broadband without having to rely on a phone service being active.
  • by tcd004 ( 134130 ) * on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @05:58PM (#8445857) Homepage
    using technology that hasn't already been tested and proven through 40 years of rigorous use.

    That's why I use Not@Home cable service. [lostbrain.com]

    tcd004
  • by prostoalex ( 308614 ) * on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @05:58PM (#8445860) Homepage Journal
    Expect somewhat intense resistance to BPL from telecoms and cable companies. They are not just competing for broadband customer in the DSL/Cable/BPL high speed Internet market.

    Once you have a megabit-per-second+ line, you can start talking about all sorts of things, including VoIP and video on delivery piggy-backing on national grid.
    • First, this isn't a "first in the nation", even though the article claims it is. We've had BPL in Manassas [broadbandreports.com] for a few months now. I'm pretty sure I've also heard about a city in Florida and somewhere out west, but I'm too lazy too search Google for them.

      On the impact to Telcos, Qwest has announced "naked" DSL where you don't need to purchase dial-tone to get DSL and one of the reasons they cited for packaging it that way was to compete with BPL.
  • by happyfrogcow ( 708359 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @05:59PM (#8445868)
    Throw away your surge protectors for more bandwidth! Install lightening rods to increase your chances of power surges! ;)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @06:03PM (#8445911)
    This is pretty bad. I was using my electric toothbrush after I had my house wired for electric internet. I noticed this bad taste, and all of a sudden, I'd somehow downloaded some porn spam into my mouth. Yeecchhhhhh.
  • by sheetsda ( 230887 ) <(doug.sheets) (at) (gmail.com)> on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @06:05PM (#8445942)
    I live just north of Cinci and the local DSL provider (Zoomtown) just bumped their customers up to 3/1 MbPS (something like $40 a month). Roadrunner cable (~$45 a month I believe) is also a big competitor in the area. Cool technology, but are they really going to get a big market share with cheap slow dial-up at $10 less a month and bigger band at $10-15 more? Seems to me they need to increase their speed to compete with broadband or lower their price to compete with dialup.
  • Holey Shiiiet... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PedanticSpellingTrol ( 746300 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @06:06PM (#8445953)
    Dear god, I was just RTFA and noticed this little bit in there:
    Cinergy and Current also will use Current Technologies(TM) BPL equipment to implement important new services that will provide improved reliability and increased efficiency for Cinergy's utility subsidiaries and their customers. BPL technology can enable a variety of enhanced power distribution applications, including:

    * Automated outage detection and restoration confirmation

    * Remote monitoring and operation of switches and transformers

    * Remote capability to connect and disconnect electric service

    * More efficient demand-side management programs

    * Automated meter reading

    Am I to understand that they're going to be controlling their critical infrastructure over IP? WTF? WTF? Has nobody in their management structure considered the security risks inherent in that madness? Much less the certainty of brutal RF interference from (and to) Hams and Emergency Service? This brings me to ask a few critical questions here, if anybody can answer them please speak up:

    1: Could someone with a properly configured radio reciever monitor traffic over this system wirelessly?

    2: If it's possible to monitor signals with radio equipment, could you transit? Is it unreasonable to call this analagous to the power co. deciding they're going to switch all their equipment over a wireless network?

  • UPS boxes! (Score:5, Funny)

    by LuxFX ( 220822 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @06:08PM (#8445985) Homepage Journal
    Now all they need to do is invent a UPS box that can store 30 minutes of surfing for backup when the power goes out....
  • by macnorth ( 758426 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @06:10PM (#8446007)
    they could only get 500 meter from the substation. Any transformer between you and the substation. Ok for city broadband but not much use for rural.
  • by martinde ( 137088 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @06:11PM (#8446010) Homepage
    I've had DSL since 1998. I believe we had one of the earlier successful, widespread DSL rollouts. (Before that I will say that there WAS a big void in broadband - ISDN was never a real option here.)

    Note that over the weekend Cincinnati Bell jumped residential broadband from 768kbs downstream to 3Mbit, without a rate increase! This is the second time they've significantly increased the bandwidth with no change in rates - the first time was just before the RoadRunner rollout. Long live competition!
  • by NotQuiteReal ( 608241 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @06:13PM (#8446041) Journal
    I just finished getting off the grid by putting in $15,000 of Solar Power!

    Oh well, I guess I will be selling excess bandwidth back to the power company along with any extra power.

    When do these winter clouds move out?

  • by Texas Rose on Lava L ( 712928 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @06:17PM (#8446076) Homepage Journal
    PG&E has enough trouble delivering electricity over the power lines, let alone internet access.

    Speaking of which, wasn't Cincinnati one of the cities that got hit by the east coast blackout?
  • by kin_korn_karn ( 466864 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @06:17PM (#8446081) Homepage
    yes, I know FEMA depends on it. Yes, I know it's valuable in emergencies. Two points:

    1) if there's an emergency, the power's probably out, and ham will work anyway. If you want to practice, do what amateur astronomers do and go out in the country where I can guarantee they won't have this. It's nice to get out of the city anyway.
    2) If ham radio dies, there will be something to replace it in your life. Most of the longtime computer users I knew where I grew up got into it in the Altair days as an extension of ham radio. If you don't want something different, well, I knew a lot of people that loved to ride 3-wheeled ATVs, and hated quads, but they got used to them. the times they are a-changin' and all that shit.

    Don't drag down progress by clinging to an anachronism. Please.
    • by MBCook ( 132727 ) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @06:38PM (#8446286) Homepage
      You, Sir, are sadly misinformed.

      As to your first point, yes ham radio would work once the power was out (and BPL was off as it would be), but if you force people to go out to the middle of nowhere to practice, THEY WON'T. Besides which, one of the great points of BPL is that it runs over powerlines so it can be run sold to houses out in the middle of no where, because they're on the power grid. So you couldn't go out into the country unless you decide to trek a few miles into the middle of farmers fields where you won't be near a power line.

      Yes, something will replace ham radio if it dies, but that doesn't make it OK to kill ham radio. If humans die, a new dominate speciese will probably appear after a few million years, does that mean we should kill all humans? After all, only a few species want/depend on humans. For many others, humans are "in the way" of their "progress". Same logic, just a rediculous example.

      Also, how are riding 3-wheeled ATVs and riding 4-wheeled ATVs mutually exclusive? Nationwide deployment of BPL threatens to kill ham radio, but your friends can still ride a 3-wheeled ATV.

      Ham radio does more than just FEMA stuff. Hams help with parades, marathons, races, triathalons, storm chasing, teaching electronic and radio theory to new people, providing a new and interesting way to communicate, all sorts of research, etc. Ham radio fosters good will with other countries. You can talk to other countries, meet interesting people, etc. In some remote areas (like in some island chains) ham radio can be a major source of interisland communication.

      How would you like it if ATVs were banned from being used and sold because of their environmental impact? Why make the environment suffer for your little hobby. You could still ride bikes, you could switch to that. Quit holding back environmental progress by clining to some pointless hobby that doesn't even serve the community (like ham radio does)?

      Don't drag down my hobby just because you don't care, please.

      PS: All of this is ignoring that fact that my ham radio frequencies are protected BY LAW and that the power companys CAN NOT interfer with them. We're not just some group saying "don't kill our hobby", our hobby is legally protected.

  • If nothing... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nathanhart ( 754532 ) <virusfarm@gmail.com> on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @06:18PM (#8446096) Homepage
    If nothing it will at least put some pressue onto the DSL and Cable proivders (quite possably Satalite aswell) and maybe make them lower their rates or push even more speed out of their lines to keep their customer from hopping onto this for the higher upload. Also should be an interesting read of their AUP to see if they allow people to run personal web servers on their connections or not.
  • Internet monopolies (Score:3, Interesting)

    by LaissezFaire ( 582924 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @06:32PM (#8446223) Journal
    Yesterday [slashdot.org] the big excitement was about "Cities Building Own Fiber Networks." Many of the comments there were favorable -- this was a good monopoly, showed the problems of the "last mile," etc.

    You don't have to go back very far in slashdot to find articles about DSL, or wireless, either. What this tells me is that there is no need to use government monoploy power over any high-speed Internet ventures. Power companies are offering high-speed Internet access because they believe they can make a profit at it. Other companies (cable, DSL, satellite) think they have the best way.

    The good news for us: We get to sit back and enjoy high-speed Internet at better availability and prices, and with no government interference. All thanks to the folks that brought you the free market!

  • by wildsurf ( 535389 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @06:32PM (#8446225) Homepage
    There's a project underway in my community to replace the septic tanks with something more modern.

    I keep suggesting that we do a wireless sewer, but no one ever listens.

    Then again, I wonder if sewer gas conducts electricity? Could be onto something... But seriously, we may very well be laying down fiber optic cable alongside the sewer as it's installed. Just as long as both pipes end up with enough bandwidth...
  • This sounds cool! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sl0wp0is0n ( 708422 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @06:57PM (#8446516)
    I guess the biggest factor playing in favor of this technology is that power lines are ubiquitous. I don't call the ISP and fret at the usual "Sorry, this facility is not available in your area", anymore. Hell! It better be available. This can be a big advantage. Almost everywhere you go, you have power. So, you have potential for internet connectivity. No more worrying about whether that place will have an RJ11 or RJ45 jacks or 802.11. I'm really concerned about the security though. So, your next bank transaction is going through that big ugly power transformer sitting a few meters away from your house. How does that make you feel? I mean power lines are easily accessible and so I guess easier to tap into. On the positive side, there are some cools things that may happen. I would assume soon we'll have computers with no ethernet ports. Just plug in the power cable and that's all you need for power as well as network connectivity. Or, the gadgets at home might talk to each other using the power line they are anyways connected to.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @07:06PM (#8446614)
    Broadband over power has benefits in that it's (generally) faster than dsl, requires no additional wiring, last mile costs are already taken care of. The problem is that it interferes with the HF radio band. The millitary is hosed. Ham radio is hosed. Ship to shore communication is hosed (Guess what...carefully aiming a satellite dish at a satellite on a rolling ship is hard to do). Long range aircraft communication is hosed (VHF is good for 140 miles at 30,000 feet. 140 miles ins't 1400 miles or 2800 miles and the ocean is a big place). It would be ok if they could get rid of the interference. Shielded power lines maybe? Just replace the grid and all house wiring (in all houses everywhere) and you are fine!
  • by MrBook2 ( 700644 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @11:10PM (#8448719)
    While I agree that the ARRL has a vested interest in this debate, I think it is fair to say that they know a thing or two about interference (see this link [arrl.org] for instance). Not only has this been shown to interfere, think of the interference to BPL. Allowing this to go forward will force something to give.

    This isn't just a local problem either. Have a look at this report [www.ero.dk] from the ECC (they are a European agency) [NOTE: Sorry, it is in MS Word format]. They clearly believe that interference potential in the frequency range up to 30 MHz "are such that the risk of interference to radio services cannot be limited to a national or regional scale" (see the section entitled "General Conclusions of the report). This is a 112 page report, and while I freely admit I have not read all of it, they clearly say that this won't be a local problem, so just leaving the city isn't going to help. They go on to say that complete interference level restrictions won't work since so many devices currently give off interference in these ranges, but that the BPL (Called PLT in this report) will give "much higher" level of interference.

    Several people in this tread have argued that amateur radio is a "dinosaur" or lived passed its usefulness. Many have already pointed out the problems with this. In many parts of the country, HF radio is the only reliable form of communication. In emergency situations HAM radio has proved itself many times over. Have a look here [aol.com] for instance. FEMA have defended the need for amateur radio on numerous occasions.

    There is more at stake here than HAM. Have a look at this chart [doc.gov]. Of particular interest are the chunks that are noted as "Radio Astronomy". Have a look at this report [doc.gov]. Of note here is that the radio astronomy bands have issues with interference already. Solar and molecular cloud observations fall in these wavelengths. Do we really want to add to the pollution of the electromagnetic spectrum? The BPL system will also be subject to interference. This seems like a lose-lose situation to me.
  • by PD ( 9577 ) <slashdotlinux@pdrap.org> on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @11:25PM (#8448836) Homepage Journal
    I chose DSL over Cable because I could get a static IP with no ports blocked. What will the electric company offer?

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