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Electricity grid offers new access to Internet

The power supply may soon be used to access the Internet


The Berne-based telecommunications group, Ascom, says its Powerline technology, which enables sound, data and video to be transmitted through the electricity power supply, is almost ready for the market.

Ascom says worldwide field trials of the technology have been received positively. Market launch is expected in spring 2001.

A statement said that both private and business test users were "very satisfied" with services offered for the Internet and telephony applications.

In particular, they were enthusiastic about the high-speed Internet access via the mains supply.

Following successful tests in Switzerland and Germany, Ascom Powerline Communications has been working with 16 leading electricity companies in 11 European countries, as well as in Singapore and Hong Kong, to optimise Powerline under national conditions.

Worldwide, some 350 households and 150 businesses are taking part in the trials.

Ascom said it was vital that the technology could be used worldwide. It added that electricity supply companies were extremely interested in Powerline because it offered "enormous potential".

The technology offers end-users a broad spectrum of applications, including high-speed Internet access (last mile), telephony, in-house networks looking after building automation, security engineering and healthcare services, as well as special services supplied by the electricity supply companies.

Germany will be one of the first countries in which Powerline is to be introduced.

swissinfo with agencies

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