Power Companies Leasing Power Lines for Broadband

While Broadband over Power Lines (BPL) isn't a new concept, it certainly isn't widely deployed. Power companies aren't keen on making major capital investments to support high-speed connections to their customers, yet those same lines reach 47 million underserved Americans who have no other broadband choices. Some of them are turning to leasing their lines to providers as a way to cash in without all of the risk.

While I can see that another major player in the land-based broadband market could help stir up competition, I can't help but think that the power companies will do exclusive contracts with a single provider, a provider that will most likely be a name we've already heard of like Earthlink or AT&T. If that ends up being the case, it'll be just another monopolist in the market providing only token competition without much in the way of true competition. This is especially so if BPL can't deliver equivalent or superior speeds when compared to cable and DSL offerings. I fear this will be another "me too" technology that won't solve our duopoly problems.

Again, it becomes more and more clear that our best alternatives lie in municipal fiber projects like UTOPIA that provide open access to a wide range of competitors at superior speeds and competitive pricing.

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