BPL Died, Nobody Came to the Funeral

  2009-03-18


Growing up, going to college, and then working for a couple of years in rural Illinois, BPL (Broadband over Powerlines) was always a technology I watched with eager anticipation.

Unfortunately sometime in 2005 I realized Duke Nukem Forever and Perl 6 had better chances of seeing the light of day than BPL.

Today I got confirmation that not only is BPL not-gonna-happen, but it quietly died when no one was looking:

Jones said these utility-built networks are “just not panning out like utilities were expecting.” Broadband over powerline is one example, where existing infrastructure could be leveraged to combine broadband to the home and smart metering services. However, there’s no successful large-scale BPL rollout anywhere in the world after a decade of trying.

From the Ars Technica article [

AT&T plugs into grid, powers smart meters’ conversations]2.

The article is all about utilities turning to AT&T for data connectivity to electrical meters. That task was supposed to be Job 1 for BPL. The one feature it could actually offer to utilities to convince them that becoming an ISP wasn’t entirely outside their business model.

Anyone have a copy of the obituary?

While in 2005 Google and Goldman Sachs were pumping money into BPL, I don’t think I’ve seen it mentioned in the news in at least a couple of years.

So did I miss the funeral, or is there some BPL company promising a just-around-the-corner breakthrough to finally make BPL an option?


In case you missed the links above, here are my other 2 posts on BPL: