BPL in Wisconsin

Last week at the Blandin Pre-Planning Stimulus Funding meeting someone mentioned BPL – broadband over power lines. The community was interested in BPL as a cost-effective way to get broadband to their area without needing to dig up a lot of ground.

Several people in the meeting immediately dismissed BPL as a legitimate solution. The quality would never be good enough. Now I’m not mentioning the next article to dispute them – but to learn more myself.

Apparently Washington Island, Wisconsin is one of the most recent BPL addition to the IBM plan with local partner, Washington Island Electric Co-op. They have 238 customers connected via BPL.

Raymond Blair, IBM’s director of advanced networks, said “broadband-over-power-line technology makes the most economic sense in the least populated places, where there might be a dozen or so customers per mile of line. The service is slower than what’s available through cable and phone, but it’s 10 times faster than dial-up service.”

So I’m wondering if there might be a future for BPL. Also I think this opens a larger discussion of which is more important – getting everyone an option for broadband or upgrading the broadband that folks can access.

This entry was posted in Blandin Foundation, Digital Divide, Rural by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (blandinonbroadband.org), hosts a radio show on MN music (mostlyminnesota.com), supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota (elimstrongtowershelters.org) and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

1 thought on “BPL in Wisconsin

  1. Hello, thanks for the BPL support! Make sure you have us on the guest list for that larger discussion of which is more important… we think everyone should have affordable access to broadband, without digging :o)

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