Networking and Communication
IBM Takes Broadband over Power Line to Rural U.S.
IBM, IBEC and 7 electrical cooperatives plan to bring Broadband over Power Line to 200,000 rural customers.
bpl diagram
Broadband over Power Line (BPL) may be headed to your rural community via IBM
February 19, 2009 by Arlen Schweiger

If you’re still reading our website or twiddling your thumbs trying to watch some Internet videos over your dial-up connection, help is on the way.

IBM and friends are going to bring you some broadband access that you can simply plug in to your existing power lines (Broadband over Power Line, or BPL) to get you up to speed.

With the help of some government funding—low-interest Rural Broadband Access Loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Program, IBM stated—the company will work with Internet provider IBEC (International Broadband Electric Communications) to plug broadband into 200,000 rural customers.

The areas to receive the BPL access are being served by seven electrical cooperatives in four states—Alabama, Michigan, Indiana and Virginia.

IBM will provide the technical supervision and skills, project management and training of the line crews on the endeavor, it said.

Using a modem that plugs into the existing electrical outlets—no new wires—this will help make a dent in the 45 percent group of Americans who don’t have broadband Internet, IBM said. And as part of its tie-in to President Obama’s economic stimulus package, the project and its off-shoots should lead to plenty of new businesses and jobs.

More electrical cooperatives will likely join, but the first seven in the program are: Cullman Electric Cooperative in Alabama; Utilities District of Western Indiana REMC, Parke Country REMC and South Central REMC in Indiana; Midwest Energy Cooperative in Michigan; and BARC Electric Cooperative and Central Virginia Electric Cooperative in Virginia. Cullman, for example, will pass 7,000 homes with BPL by the end of February, IBM says.

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Arlen Schweiger - Contributor, Electronic House Magazine
Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com and Electronic House magazine.

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