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Will WiMAX beat BPL to the punch?

Wed, 07/13/2005 - 8:00pm

Besides niggling concerns such as interference and making waves in saturated cable modem and DSL markets, broadband over powerline (BPL) technology may have yet another hurdle to deal with in areas that are underserved by broadband: WiMAX.

WiMAX 802.116e, an emerging and hype-filled wireless broadband platform, could beat BPL to market, especially in the United States, where ratification of a universal standard is still pending, speculates IMS Research. And this is all without giving much due to satellite broadband services like WildBlue Communications, which launched services commercially just last month.

Still, the firm adds, power utilities that enter the broadband market on their own or via ISP partners, could give them the necessary financing and branding to achieve a "respectable" slice of the market.

Some BPL providers are already scoring on the financial end of the equation. Current Communications Group has reportedly raised $100 million thanks to investments from Google, Goldman Sachs and Hearst Corp.

"The biggest hurdle for broadband powerline will be achieving market share in DSL and cable modem saturated markets," said IMS Research Broadband Analyst Melissa Yocom, in a statement. "The volume of BPL deployments will have to increase substantially during the next 12-18 months if this technology is going to gain any ground."

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