The Demise of Broadband Over Power Line

Om Malik today comes not to praise broadband over power-line technology but to bury it.

Writing about the apparent demise of the technology, Om notes that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), including its former and current chairmen, Michael Powell (yes, Colin’s son) and Kevin Martin, respectively, were enthusiastic proponents of power-line broadband. He also notes that the FCC’s technological cheerleading ran counter to the feasibility and viability assessments of many industry cognoscenti, who continually cited technical and market limitations.

Not to be cynical, but I wonder whether the FCC really believed in the market efficacy of power-line broadband. As it pursued policies that consistently served the interests of telecommunications lobbyists and their corporate masters, it was convenient for the FCC to be able to point to a looming technological competitor to the broadband establishment represented by cable companies and carriers.

Conversely, maybe the FCC was just misinformed. If so, it would be neither the first time nor the last.

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