Regional power company Norweb expects to offer an Internet service via electricity lines that is 10 times faster than the quickest rival systems.
Norweb and its partner, Canada’s Northern Telecom (Nortel), aim to carry out commercial trials with the system they have developed which can transmit data at up to 10 times the speed of ISDN in the second quarter of this year. They plan to offer it to the public by the end of the year.
As well as being much faster than the quickest generally available system for the home, the technology offers continuous access to the Internet without the need for a dial-up modem connection.
A Norweb spokesman said the planned full-scale trial would run the system in increments past a total of about 2,000 homes in Norweb’s franchise area with the expectation of signing up 200 subscribers. He said this would give the company an idea of the appropriate pricing structure for offering the service to the public.
With lower investment costs than other broadband data access systems, Norweb and Nortel expect the technology to unleash the next wave of Net growth.
The two companies proved the technology was technically viable during trials in 1996 and 1997, and its first public installation was at the Seymour Park Primary School in Trafford, Greater Manchester, at the end of last year.
The school has 12 personal computers linked to the Internet from a single connection, which offers permanent access at speeds of up to 1 megabit per second.